Thursday, February 22, 2018

EPA Holds Meeting On Childhood Lead Exposure Prevention

childhood lead exposure prevention epa
EPA met with fellow federal agencies to discuss a new
initiative for childhood lead poisoning prevention.

Last week, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt lead a meeting with fellow Cabinet members to define a federal strategy to reduce childhood lead exposure.

The meeting comes shortly after a federal court ordered EPA to update its 17-year-old lead regulations. Administrator Pruitt was joined by members of the President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risk and Safety Risks to Children to decide on the direction and implementation of a new childhood lead poisoning prevention initiative. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson and Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta were among notable attendees.

"Lead exposure poses a significant health threat to hundreds of thousands of American children. By refocusing Agency efforts, we can work with out government partners to develop solutions that address lead exposure and improve health outcomes for children," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a recent press release.

At the meeting, Administrator Pruitt shared his vision for a collaborative effort between multiple agencies to realize the new Federal Strategy to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Eliminate Associate Health Impacts. He stated that reducing childhood lead exposure would be a priority for EPA's 2018 agenda. Each Task Force member or their designee also shared how their respective agency could best contribute to the new initiative and how to communicate the issue to the public.

In order to reach the Task Force's goals on lead, attendees agreed to:
  • Make addressing childhood lead exposure a priority for departments and agencies
  • Set an aggressive, near-term timeline for the Task Force to complete its work to draft the strategy
  • Schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss the next steps
  • Five goals that frame the new Federal Strategy Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Eliminate Associated Health Impacts
Task Force members and agency members alike agreed that childhood lead poisoning prevention is a multifaceted issue. Minorities, low-income households and children are disproportionately affected by lead poisoning. These populations are rarely able to just move out of contaminated homes. 

"Children perform better at school and in life if they live in a health home. A health start at home translates to a successful life outside of the home. HUD is committed to working across Federal agencies and with local communities to eradicate lead poisoning to make sure our homes are safe and ensure positive outcomes for families and their kids," Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said in a recent press release.

Furthermore, these populations are more likely to be exposed to lead in their workplaces.

"Far too many Americans are exposed to lead in their workplace. Finding solutions to better protect these workers and minimize the amount of lead that is taken home, and potentially exposed to their children, is a priority," Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said in a recent press release.

The first of many meetings on a grim subject, EPA's resolution to do better seems hopeful.

To learn more about the meeting, visit EPA's website. To learn more about lead exposure prevention and how to get involved in this field, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage.

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