Tuesday, November 22, 2016

President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks releases report on preventing childhood lead poisoning

The President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children released a new federal programs report to prevent childhood lead poisoning. In their report, the task force identifies nearly 60 initiatives currently or tentatively in action. Some of the federal programs include:
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which establishes and enforces lead-content limits in children's products 
  • Environmental Protection Agency's Lead-based Paint Program and Disclosure Program, which establishes lead safety protocols and certification for lead workers, and informs residents of potentially lead-contaminated homes 
  • Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water and Enforcement, which reduces lead in drinking water and repairs public water systems that might have lead contaminated pipes
One of the most promising aspects of the report is its emphasis on cooperation and coordination between federal agencies; an example being Department of Justice taking legal action at the request of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Blood lead levels in children by income

Another promising aspect of the report is the acknowledgment of lead poisoning affecting children of low-income families more than others. According to the report, children living below the poverty line had the highest concentration of lead in their blood samples. One conclusion the report offers is that low-income families might live in older homes not up to current lead safety protocols - several federal initiatives are in the works to remediate and relocate this affected population.

Effects of lead poisoning at different blood lead levels

The report also reiterates the dangers of childhood lead exposure. Acute and high levels of lead exposure can lead to convulsions, abdominal pain, colic and even death, while small but long-term exposure can lead to behavioral and cognitive dysfunction, hearing loss, stunted growth and renal failure. Furthermore, the report notes that children are disproportionately exposed to lead; activities such as crawling and playing in lead contaminated soil or ingesting lead-contaminated particles all contribute.

Blood lead levels in children between 1976 and 2014

Blood lead levels have significantly decreased in children from when the EPA first began tracking it in the 1970s. Still, with recent crises such as Flint, Michigan and Madison, Wisconsin, it's clear that federal action is still needed to protect our children. This report brings hope for a continued downward trend in blood lead levels and the possibility of eradicating childhood lead poisoning once and for all.

To read more about the report, visit the President's Task Force on Environmental Health's website. To learn more about lead safety protocols and how you can become certified in lead work, visit Zack Academy's lead certification website.

No comments:

Post a Comment