Does Absolute Pollution Exclusion Include Coverage for Injuries Arising Out of a Minor's Ingestion of Lead ?
In Insurance Co. of Illinois v. Stringfield, 292 Ill. App. 3d 471, 226 Ill. Dec. 525, 685 N.E.2d 980 (1997), the court considered whether the absolute pollution exclusion precluded coverage for injuries arising out of a minors ingestion of lead paint and plaster chips inside his family's apartment. Stringfield, 292 Ill. App. 3d at 472.
The court noted that the lead did not pollute the paint; rather, it was purposefully incorporated into the paint from the start, and the paint was intentionally applied to the premises and was legal. Stringfield, 292 Ill. App. 3d at 476.
The court held that "a common understanding of a pollutant is a substance that 'pollutes' or renders impure a previously unpolluted object, as when chemical wastes leach into a clean water supply" (Stringfield, 292 Ill. App. 3d at 476), and, thus, the absolute pollution exclusion did not apply to preclude coverage for personal injuries arising out of a minors ingestion of lead. Stringfield, 292 Ill. App. 3d at 476.