EPA is recognizing the start of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) by releasing the Progress Report on the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts (Progress Report). The Progress Report outlines key EPA actions that have been made since December 2018 to address these commitments as outlined in the Federal Lead Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts (Action Plan).
“Through the President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children, EPA is leading efforts to reduce childhood lead exposure in the United States,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “In addition to delivering on our Federal Lead Action Plan goals, EPA recently proposed the first major update in over two decades to the Lead and Copper Rule. I am proud of the progress we have made under the Trump Administration to protect the health and future of our nation’s children.”
“Protecting children from lead exposure is a top priority,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “The effects lead poisoning can have on a child’s health are devastating, and it is our duty as an agency to prevent it. If even one child is affected by lead, that is one too many. Parents and caregivers can take steps to protect children from lead. Please help us share these critical early steps with your friends on social media.”
EPA is committed to aggressively addressing lead issues across America by working with communities and partners to further identify and eliminate lead exposure across the nation, especially for children who are most vulnerable to lead poisoning. Through cross-governmental collaborations, public partnerships, rulemaking processes, enforcement actions, and targeted outreach, EPA has made tremendous gains to reduce lead exposure and associated harms throughout fiscal year 2019. Below are highlights:
- October 10, 2019 – EPA’s proposed Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) includes a suite of actions to reduce lead exposure in drinking water where it is needed the most. The proposed rule will identify the most at-risk communities and ensure systems have plans in place to rapidly respond by taking actions to reduce elevated levels of lead in drinking water. EPA’s Lead and Copper Proposed Rule reflects input received from the agency’s state, local, and tribal partners, the Science Advisory Board, the National Drinking Water Advisory Council, and best available peer-reviewed science. EPA is taking public comment on this proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register via www.regulations.gov: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0300.
- June 21, 2019 – EPA announced new, tighter standards for lead in dust on floors and window sills to protect children from the harmful effects of lead exposure. The final rule lowers the dust-lead hazard standards from 40 µg/ft2 and 250 µg/ft2 to 10 µg/ft2 and 100 µg/ft2 on floors and window sills, respectively. EPA is now considering changes to the post-abatement clearance levels consistent with the final revisions to the dust-lead hazard standards. To update the dust-lead clearance levels, EPA must take several steps such as conducting health, exposure and economic analyses.
- April 29, 2019 – EPA announced the availability of nearly $87 million in grant funding to assist states, tribes, and territories with improving drinking water. States, tribes, and territories are eligible to receive funding from two new EPA drinking water grant programs established by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN): Under EPA’s new Voluntary Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care grant program, EPA will award $43.7 million in grants to fund testing for lead in drinking water at schools and child care programs. Testing results carried out using grant funds must be made publicly available. Under EPA’s new Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communitiesgrant program, EPA will award $42.8 million in grants to support underserved communities with bringing public drinking water systems into compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. Funding can also be used for conducting household water quality testing, including testing for unregulated contaminants.
- April 1, 2019 – EPA released the Implementation Status Report for EPA Actions under the December 2018 Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts (Status Report). The Status Reportdescribes EPA activities that are being conducted in support of the Lead Action Plan. Through the President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children, EPA continues to work with its federal partners to improve coordinated activities and implement objectives of the Action Plan.
- Throughout 2019 – EPA collaborated with over 200 tribal representatives and partners to develop and evaluate a new educational curriculum for tribes – Lead Awareness in Indian Country: Keeping our Children Healthy! The purpose of the education curriculum is to raise awareness about childhood lead exposures; potential impacts on children’s health and cultural practices; and encourage actions that can be taken to reduce and/or prevent lead exposures. Pilot tests were conducted in partnership with the Oneida Nation, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, the Eight Northern Indian Pueblo Council, the National Tribal Toxics Council, the National-EPA Tribal Science Council, EPA Region 5, and EPA Region 6 to identify how the curriculum can be best executed and gathered feedback to make modifications for ensuring the product is ready for dissemination and use. The Agency anticipates publishing the curriculum in early 2020.
- December 19, 2018 – EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, and U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan unveiled the Trump Administration’s Federal Lead Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts (Lead Action Plan). Developed through cross-governmental collaboration of the President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children, which includes 17 federal departments and offices, the Lead Action Plan is a blueprint for reducing lead exposure and associated harms by working with a range of stakeholders, including states, tribes and local communities, along with businesses, property owners and parents.
“While many strides have been made in the prevention and treatment of lead-based illnesses, we hope to eradicate all need for these standards. We applaud the EPA and all advocates for their efforts to protect current and future generations from exposures to lead-containing paint and dust, contaminated drinking water and soil, among other health risks,” said Patrick Carolan, Executive Director Franciscan Action Network.