10.08.20, LENEXA, KANSAS — As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is celebrating Children’s Health Month with the kick-off of a month-long observance of 50 years of progress in protecting children’s health. As President Trump stated in his Child Health Day 2020 proclamation, “we are reminded of our solemn obligation to love and protect these precious lives, and we recommit to helping America’s youth reach their full potential.” EPA plays a significant role in protecting children’s health through numerous programs that help keep children safe in the places where they live, learn, and play.

“Protecting children’s health is one of the most important responsibilities of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Throughout October, in recognition of Children’s Health Month, EPA will highlight our many programs and resources dedicated to improving air quality, reducing lead exposure, and protecting the health and wellbeing of children.”

“Children here in Region 7 (IA, KS, MO, NE) may be exposed to lead from lead-based paint in homes built before 1978 and from legacy lead mining and production activities,” said Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “Our community-based public education and health protection efforts with cities and counties are important in protecting children. Yet, it’s the parents who hear this message and have their children tested for elevated blood lead levels through their county or city public health agency who are the real heroes!”

Our environment is cleaner today than any point in our nation’s recorded history, leading to positive environmental health outcomes in communities across the nation. Over the past four years, EPA has made significant strides in protecting children’s health, including:

  • Providing funding to support testing for lead in drinking water in schools.
  • Reducing emissions of criteria and precursor air pollutants by 7 percent from 2017 to 2019, for a total of 77 percent since the inception of the EPA in 1970.
  • Remediating and revitalizing community spaces through EPA’s Brownfields program, including the Children’s Museum of Maine, neighborhoods and playgrounds in Colorado, and more.

Throughout October, EPA will celebrate children’s health by highlighting a new theme each week: Children’s Environmental Health in Schools, Childcare Settings, and Houses of Worship; Children’s Health Research; Improving Safety of School and Childcare Facilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic; and National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.

For more information on EPA’s work, please see our October 2020 booklet Protecting Children’s Health; and visit us on the web at https://www.epa.gov/children.

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