US EPA Highlights Actions During National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joins its federal agency partners in highlighting National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 25-29, 2021. EPA, along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are working to raise awareness, provide resources, and encourage preventive actions to decrease childhood lead exposure during the week and beyond.
“Despite all the progress we have made in reducing lead in our environment over the last 40 years, too many people in this country still face significant health risks from lead exposure, especially children who are the most vulnerable among us,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA is committed to protecting the nation’s children from the harmful effects of lead, especially in overburdened and underserved communities across the country.”
Lead can cause irreversible and life-long health effects, including decreasing IQ, focus, and academic achievement in children. While lead is dangerous to all children, not all children are equally exposed to lead, nor do they suffer the same consequences of exposure. The harmful impacts of lead disproportionately impact environmentally overburdened, low-income families and their communities.
Because children can be exposed to lead from multiple sources in their environment, EPA is taking a whole of government approach to reducing blood lead levels in children by working closely with other federal agencies such as HUD and CDC that can help address this issue, as well as with state, Tribal, and local government partners. Over the next several years, EPA will target opportunities to focus resources on the most vulnerable communities. For example:
- Releasing a National Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures: EPA will soon be releasing a “Draft Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities” for public comment. The Strategy will advance the Agency’s work to protect the public from lead with an emphasis on high-risk communities.
- Reviewing the Lead and Copper Rule: EPA is reviewing its current Lead and Copper Rule, to assure that it improves public health and reduces lead and copper in drinking water. The Agency hosted a series of virtual engagements with low-income communities and communities of color to obtain further public input on the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions.
- Addressing Lead in Drinking Water: EPA will be issuing guidance to assist states and communities in identifying lead service lines, the most significant sources of lead in drinking water, and prioritizing their replacement.
- Testing for and Remediating Lead in Schools and Childcare Facilities: EPA will be working with partners to test for lead in the drinking water of schools and childcare facilities, and to provide tools and resources for remediation actions.
- Working with Drinking Water Service Providers: EPA will provide training and technical assistance to drinking water service providers to protect children and households in impacted communities and will help providers improve outreach to drinking water consumers to take actions to reduce their lead exposure.
- Cleaning up Lead at Superfund Sites: EPA has identified nearly 1,200 Superfund National Priorities List and Superfund Alternative Approach sites where lead is a contaminant of concern, potentially exposing children in communities across the country. EPA will continue working across all our national programs to reduce lead exposure at these sites with an emphasis on addressing disproportionate impacts in communities with lower socioeconomic status.
- Reducing Exposures to Lead-Based Paint Hazards: EPA will continue to reduce exposures to lead in paint and dust by raising awareness about childhood lead exposure with a nationwide education and outreach initiative in underserved communities, and revising two regulations to provide important provisions to protect children from exposure to lead dust on floors and windowsills, one of the most common sources of elevated blood lead levels in children.
- Taking Lead Enforcement Actions: EPA will continue to initiate enforcement actions to protect against children’s health hazards in areas such as exposure to lead paint, the presence of lead and other contaminants in drinking water, and particulate lead air emissions.
In addition, EPA will be carrying out the following activities during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week to help a wide variety of audiences learn more about preventing lead exposure.
- Lead Awareness Curriculum Train-the-Trainer Session – Join EPA Wednesday, October 27 at 2:00 pm ET for a live discussion on how to use and modify the “Lead Awareness in Indian Country: Keeping our Children Healthy!” materials for any community. Register here.
- Understanding Lead Webinar – Join EPA Thursday, October 28 at 3:00 pm ET for a live presentation, featuring simultaneous Spanish interpretation, of “Module 1: Understanding Lead” from the Lead Awareness Curriculum to receive an overview of lead, its impacts and actions that can be taken to reduce potential lead exposures and lead poisoning. Register here.
- Renovation, Restoration and Painting (RRP) Trainings – EPA is also offering trainings for renovators at no cost. Learn more and register for an upcoming in-person RRP training near you.
Established in 1999 by the US Senate, National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week occurs every year during the last week in October. During this week, many states and communities offer free blood-lead testing and conduct various education and awareness events.
For more information on what EPA, HUD, and CDC are doing during NLPPW:
For more information on EPA and Lead: https://www.epa.gov/lead