HUD, HHS and EPA reinforce ways to protect children from lead exposure
To kick off National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW), leaders of President Donald Trump’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children are raising awareness about the health risks associated with exposure to lead, specifically for children.
NLPPW, which will be held October 21-27, is an annual “call to action” aimed at bringing together families, individuals, community-based organizations, state, tribal, and local governments, and others, to protect current and future generations from exposures to lead-containing paint and dust, contaminated drinking water and soil, among other health risks.
The Task Force Co-Chairs, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, along with Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson are highlighting tools, products, and resources to assist partners at all levels in educating their communities about reducing lead hazards.
HUD estimates more than three million American households with children under the age of six are living with lead exposure hazards that can cause significant harm to their health.
“As a former pediatric neurosurgeon, I’ve seen the negative impact lead exposure can have on a child’s developing brain,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes has been a significant contributor to the ongoing development of a federal strategy to eliminate childhood lead poisoning, ensuring kids have a foundation and a home environment that contributes to their ability to thrive.”
“The work of the President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children is a continuation of the Trump Administration’s commitment to preventing future generations from being affected by lead exposure,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “In children, lead exposure can result in serious effects on IQ, attention span, and academic achievement. Fortunately, we have made great progress through working with EPA and HUD on President Trump’s task force, and I look forward to our continued collaboration on combating the threat of lead exposure to children.”
“Reducing lead exposure, particularly among children, is a top priority for EPA,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are in the process of completing several important actions to combat lead poisoning, such as publishing the new joint federal lead strategy, strengthening the dust-lead hazard standards, and overhauling the lead and copper rule for the first time in over two decades. Today, we are releasing a new document, Protecting Children from Lead Exposures, that will increase public awareness of the EPA programs and grants available to reduce lead exposure.”
During NLPPW, HUD is launching a new Healthy Homes-Youth app that teaches children about health hazards within the home, focusing on actions they and their families can take to eliminate risks. Versions for the iPhones, iPad, and iPod touch (using IOS 9.0 or later) can be downloaded here. HUD has also developed a Partner Information Kit, which provides resources for implementing local NLLPW activities, information about lead and lead poisoning prevention, tips for outreach, and more.