In the November 3, 2022 issue of the Federal Register, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave notice of the availability of its Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities. The EPA developed this strategy to strengthen public health protections, address legacy lead contamination for communities with the greatest exposures, communicate more effectively with stakeholders, and support and conduct critical research. The EPA plans to achieve its goals through three approaches: (1) Reduce lead exposures locally with a focus on communities with disparities and promote environmental justice; (2) Reduce lead exposures nationally through updated protective standards, analytical tools, and outreach; and (3) Reduce lead exposures with a “whole of EPA” and “whole of government” approach.
The EPA’s Lead Strategy sets out four key goals:
Goal 1. Reduce Community Exposures to Lead Sources.
Because community exposure to lead occurs through multiple routes of exposure, the Lead Strategy has identified five separate objectives specific to achieving Goal 1:
- Objective A: Reduce Exposure to Lead in Homes and Child-Occupied Facilities with Lead-Based Paint and other Hazards
- Objective B: Reduce Exposure to Lead from Drinking Water
- Objective C: Reduce Exposure to Lead in Soils
- Objective D: Reduce Exposure to Lead Associated with Emissions to Ambient Air
- Objective E: Reduce Exposure to Lead Through Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Goal 2. Identify Communities with High Lead Exposures and Improve Their Health Outcomes
Exposure to lead across the country is inequitable, and communities of color and lower socioeconomic status often face the greatest exposure and risks of health impacts. Accordingly, the EPA plans to identify ‘hot spots,’ increase cross-agency coordination on lead policies and regulations, and invest in community science and monitoring.
Goal 3. Communicate More Effectively with Stakeholders
In many communities, parents, families, and child-care providers are often not aware of lead until it is measure din the blood of children or adults. To address this problem, the EPA plans to support the development of community-based tools, develop and deploy coordinated educational and prevention messages at a national scale, and promote a National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.
Goal 4. Support and Conduct Critical Research to Inform Efforts to Reduce Lead Exposures and Related Health Risks
Scientific approaches to support EPA and community actions are needed to inform Goals 1, 2, and 3 – including in the areas of lead integrated exposure and health science assessment, blood lead modeling, lead hotspot mapping, analysis of environmental information, development of methods to measure and reduce bioavailability and bio accessibility, and use of drinking water science. To expand on the available research, the EPA plans to extend mapping methods to identify lead hotspots, collect drinking water samples, conduct multimedia lead modeling, and collaborate on science-based mapping efforts.
More information on the Final Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities can be found on the EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/lead/final-strategy-reduce-lead-exposures-and-disparities-us-communities.
Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities, 87 Fed. Reg. 66302 (Nov. 3, 2022). https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/11/03/2022-23903/strategy-to-reduce-lead-exposures-and-disparities-in-us-communities