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EPA Talks Lead for Children's Health Month

Monday, October 7, 2019

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler recently participated in the Mid-Atlantic Lead Forum, to discuss the agency’s “Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts,” to kick off Children’s Health Month 2019.

The forum convened local and state, academic, and non-profit partners from the EPA’s Mid-Atlantic region, and strategies were discussed to reduce childhood lead exposures providing an opportunity for stakeholders to begin developing their own community lead reduction action plans, according to the EPA.

“In recognition of Children’s Health Month, EPA is highlighting the availability of its many programs and resources dedicated to improving air quality, reducing lead exposure, and protecting the health and wellbeing of children,” said Wheeler.

“From strengthening lead-dust standards to providing new funding for lead testing to our forthcoming revisions to the lead and copper rule, EPA is taking action to reduce childhood lead exposure and deliver on the Trump Administration’s federal lead action plan.”

Commitments of the federal action plan, which was rolled out in December 2018, include:

  • Ensuring that the air children breathe at home, school and outdoors is clean, as children breathe more air, and more rapidly, than adults;
  • Ensuring that the water children drink meets protective federal standards;
  • Limiting chemical exposures to children;
  • Remediating hazardous and toxic waste sites;
  • Staying ahead of emerging children’s environmental health challenges; and
  • Conducting work with states, tribes, local governments and communities to protect children where they live, learn and play.

The EPA also released its “Protecting Children’s Health, October 2019” booklet to highlight major initiatives throughout the country and promote children’s health and healthy learning environments.

Recent Initiatives

In early August, more than 1,800 children’s classrooms in New York City were reported to have been contaminated with hazardous, deteriorated lead paint.

Testing was conducted in late June after the school year ended.

Prompted by an investigation by radio station WNYC that originally found loose lead-paint chips and high-dust levels in four schools, it was decided that hundreds of elementary-schools in New York City would be tested.

When inspections were conducted in NYC, school custodians first performed visual inspections for deterioration, in addition to peeling and chipping paint. Where these instances were found, a certified inspector was then brought into the school to test whether the paint was lead-based. Of the 3-K through first-grade classrooms tested for lead, totaling roughly 8,438 classrooms, 1,860 were reported to be contaminated.

Announced by Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza, the DOE and the School Construction Authority, all of the more than 1,800 classrooms found to have been contaminated with lead paint have since been successfully remediated.

Next steps slated to be completed by the 2020-21 school year include additional remediation to cafeterias and libraries serving children under six. Additional abatement work is also expected to be complete by the SCA in spaces that undergo a capital project.



Tagged categories: EPA; EPA; Government; Health and safety; Lead; Lead; Lead paint abatement; Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP); Maintenance + Renovation; NA; North America

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