Some companies have been able to limit lead-related environmental liabilities through bankruptcy or reorganizations, shifting cleanup costs to taxpayers, according to a USA Today analysis. Although a successor company typically doesn't face liability for contamination at factories run by a firm that it has acquired, a purchaser may be unable to escape liability if it exists as the result of a de facto merger with the previous operator, or if it is simply a continuation of the previous firm, said Robert Glicksman, a professor at George Washington University Law School.

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