10.27.20 — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recognizing National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) from October 25 – 31, 2020. Held annually on the last week of October, NLPPW serves as a “call to action” aimed at bringing families, individuals, community-based organizations, state, tribal and local governments, and others together to protect current and future generations from exposure to lead.
“Lead poisoning is one of the most preventable health tragedies for children in this country, and the EPA under President Trump is committed to eliminating lead exposure across this nation,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “In 2020 EPA has awarded or announced nearly $49 million to remove lead in drinking water in schools and day cares, announced a final rule to cut the level of lead in new plumbing material, and proposed a rule to cut lead dust levels on windowsills and floors. Just last week, EPA selected 10 projects to receive funding under the WIIN Act’s Reduction in Lead Exposure via Drinking Water grant program, including selecting seven grantees to receive $22.8 million to reduce lead in schools and child care facilities.”
Under the Trump Administration’s December 2018 Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts (Action Plan), EPA committed to aggressively addressing lead issues by working with communities and partners to identify and eliminate lead exposure across the nation, especially for children who are the most vulnerable. For more information on the Action Plan, visit: https://www.epa.gov/lead/federal-action-plan-reduce-childhood-lead-exposure.
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 2020. Visit: https://www.epa.gov/leadactionplanimplementation to view EPA’s progress in implementing the Action Plan and stories of on-the-ground work being conducted nationwide. Below are a few notable highlights of EPA accomplishments to raise awareness of and reduce exposure to lead:
- EPA researchers co-led a cross-agency workshop on progress to “support and conduct critical research to inform efforts to reduce lead exposures and related health risks,” Goal 4 of the Action Plan. The workshop convened federal partners, including EPA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), who continue to work together to better protect children. Presentations featured EPA research in support of the updated Dust Lead Hazard Standard, Dust Lead Clearance Standard, Lead-Free Rule, and the Lead and Copper Rule. The workshop furthered cross-federal agency collaborations, for example, adding HUD’s Deteriorating Paint Index to EPA’s approaches used to map, target, and reduce children’s exposure to lead.
- Announced the availability of $39.9 million to reduce lead in drinking water under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. For more information, visit: https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/wiin-grant-reduction-lead-exposure-drinking-water-under-sdwa-section-1459b.
- Announced the Availability of $26 million to states for the Lead Testing in School and Child Care Program Drinking Water grant program under the WIIN Act. For more information on WIIN grants, visit: https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/wiin-grant-reduction-lead-exposure-drinking-water-under-sdwa-section-1459b. For more information on the Lead Testing in School and Child Care Program Drinking Water grant, visit: https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/wiin-grant-lead-testing-school-and-child-care-program-drinking-water.
- Released a proposal to reduce the clearance levels for lead in dust on floors and windowsills after lead removal activities. The proposed, tighter standards would increase the effectiveness of work done to remove lead-based paint hazards in pre-1978 homes and childcare facilities, known as abatement, and lower the risk of lead exposure by ensuring that lead-based paint hazards are effectively and permanently eliminated following completion of the work. For more information, visit: https://www.epa.gov/lead/hazard-standards-and-clearance-levels-lead-paint-dust-and-soil-tscasections-402-and-403.
- Announced a final rule to reduce lead in plumbing materials used in public water systems, homes, schools, and other facilities. The Use of Lead-Free Pipes, Fittings, Fixtures, Solder, and Flux for Drinking Water final rule significantly limits the lead content allowed in plumbing materials used in new construction and in the replacement of existing plumbing from 8% to 0.25% in accordance with the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act of 2011. For more information, visit: https://www.epa.gov/sdwa/use-lead-free-pipes-fittings-fixtures-solder-and-flux-drinking-water.
- Announced the availability of more than $4 million to tribal consortia for the Tribal Lead Testing in School and Child Care Program under the WIIN Act. For more information on WIIN grants, visit: https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/wiingrant-reduction-lead-exposure-drinking-water-under-sdwa-section-1459b. For more information on Tribal Testing in School and Child Care Program Drinking Water, visit: https://www.epa.gov/tribaldrinkingwater/wiin-act-section-2107-lead-testing-school-and-child-care-program-drinking-water.
- Released the Lead Awareness in Indian Country: Keeping our Children Healthy! curriculum, a robust set of educational tools that provide practical, on-the-ground, community-based resources to reduce childhood lead exposure. This series of four modules provides lesson plans, worksheets, key messages, presentation slides, and kids’ activity sheets that tribes and community leaders can use to improve public awareness of the dangers associated with lead exposure and promote preventative actions to reduce childhood lead exposure. To view the curriculum, visit https://www.epa.gov/lead.
- EPA announced projects that were selected to receive nearly $40 million in grant funding under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN). These first-ever selections under the WIIN Act’s Reduction in Lead Exposure via Drinking Water grant will be used to assist disadvantaged communities and schools with removing sources of lead in drinking water. The selected grantees will conduct projects that will reduce lead exposure in drinking water by replacing thousands of lead service lines and removing potential sources of lead in hundreds of schools and childcare facilities across the United States. For more information visit: https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/wiin-grant-reduction-lead-exposure-drinking-water.
EPA continues to reduce exposures from lead in soils through removal, remedial, and corrective actions at contaminated sites. In fiscal year 2020, EPA completed 56 Superfund cleanup actions at sites where lead is a contaminant of concern. 21 of these actions were at remedial sites and 35 were under the removal program.
Together with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), EPA continues to support Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs). PEHSUs continue to train health care providers and the public on the prevention, diagnosis, management and treatment of lead exposure. To learn more about PEHSUs, visit https://www.pehsu.net/.
To learn more about EPA’s actions on lead, visit https://www.epa.gov/lead.
To view EPA’s Protecting Children’s Health October 2020 booklet, visit: https://www.epa.gov/children/protecting-childrens-health-october-2020-booklet.