WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled the Federal Lead Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts (Lead Action Plan).
EPA Acting Administrator, Andrew Wheeler said, “The Federal Lead Action Plan will enhance our efforts to identify and reduce lead contamination while ensuring children impacted by lead exposure are getting the support and care they need.
He added, “EPA will develop an implementation plan by March 2019 that will enable us to track our progress and update the public as we work to carry out the action plan and mitigate childhood lead exposure.”
HHS Secretary Alex Azar said that lead exposure at a young age can result in serious effects on IQ, attention span, and academic achievement. “We need to continue taking action to prevent these harmful effects. Identifying lead-exposed children, connecting them with appropriate services, and preventing other children from being exposed to lead are important public health priorities for this administration.”
HUD Secretary, Ben Carson said, “Implementing this plan will help federal agencies, along with our state and local partners, advance efforts to remediate home health hazards and keep children safe from lead poisoning.”
The four goals of the Lead Action Plan are:
- Goal 1: Reduce Children’s Exposure to Lead Sources;
- Goal 2: Identify Lead-Exposed Children and Improve their Health Outcomes;
- Goal 3: Communicate More Effectively with Stakeholders; and
- Goal 4: Support and Conduct Critical Research to Inform Efforts to Reduce Lead Exposures and Related Health Risks.
According to a study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, environmental lead exposure, usually occurring from contaminated dust and soil around older homes, poses a significant challenge. Low amounts of lead exposure during early development, the study also found, have direct, measurable, negative consequences for children’s school performance later in life.
EPA is committed to developing an implementation plan – by March 2019 – that includes performance metrics for monitoring progress and demonstrating accountability for EPA activities identified in the Lead Action Plan. The agency also commits to providing periodic updates on the progress of these actions.
The Lead Action Plan will help federal agencies work strategically and collaboratively to reduce exposure to lead and improve children’s health.
EPA and members of the Task Force will continue to engage with and reach out to community stakeholders such as non-governmental organizations.