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How EPA Protects Children and Adults from Lead Poisoning

EPA’s work to protect children and adults from lead poisoning includes:

  • Issuing and enforcing regulations, such as those that require lead-safe work practices in older housing and that require sellers and renters to disclose the known presence of lead in older homes and apartments.
  • Conducting research on the effects of lead.
  • Educating parents and caregivers nationally and globally through print materials, media, and the Web on how to protect children from lead poisoning.

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Outreach for Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule to Contractors, Consumers, Property Managers 
Before the rule became effective April 22, 2010, EPA launched an extensive outreach campaign to prepare the tens of thousands of contractors, workers and families the new rule would affect.

Outreach materials sent to contractors, media, large and small hardware stores, trade associations, and other included, ads, web materials, articles, postcards, brochures and fact sheets.

► Get outreach materials for contractors

► Get outreach materials for consumers

EPA has also worked with stores throughout the country, such as Home Depot, who have printed and are distributing one million fact sheets for contractors, saying why they should get lead-safe certified, and for consumers, saying why they should use lead-safe certified contractors.

Ad Council Lead Poisoning Prevention: Public Service Announcement (PSA) Campaign 
EPA has been reaching out to parents and caregivers of children under six with an award-winning lead poisoning prevention campaign.

Sponsored by EPA, the Ad Council, the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the campaign urges "Let’s Make All Kids Lead-Free Kids".  This multimedia effort in English and Spanish points citizens to the campaign’s website www.leadfreekids.org Exit EPA Disclaimer and to a hotline (1-800-424-LEAD) for more information.

Through the Ad Council, the campaign secured nearly $10.8 million in donated media support in TV, radio, print, and outdoor billboard PSAs, and the effort includes guides for parents, pregnant women, do-it-yourselfers, educators, landlords, contractors or renovators, medical professionals, and the press.

Since the campaign launched on April 20, 2010, PSAs were distributed to more than 33,000 media outlets nationwide.  Broadcast, print and online stories featuring the campaign have aired and run throughout the country.  Monitoring reports suggest that our message reached more than 56.5 million people in the two weeks following the launch. The campaign won two prestigious ADDY Awards sponsored  by the American Advertising Federation: the gold ADDY in the public service category for TV, and the silver ADDY in the public service category for print.

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 
Annually, EPA observes National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week to highlight and educate parents and children on the dangerous health effects of exposure to lead, especially the hazards of lead-paint in older housing.

Occurring the last full week in October, Lead Poisoning Prevention Week embraces a different theme each year that underscores the many ways parents can reduce a child's exposure to lead and prevent its serious health effects.

Each year EPA partners with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to collaborate on a theme, and develop posters and flyers and other education and awareness tools and events specifically designed to observe Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. Educational events occur that week in communities across the country, and EPA posts a web page reminding parents of simple actions they can take and resources they can draw on to protect their children from lead poisoning.

Promoting Drinking Water Testing for Lead in Schools and Child Care Facilities 
Testing drinking water in schools and child care facilities is important; that’s where children spend their day. EPA is interested in working with schools, local water utilities, and local public health agencies to implement the lead testing of schools’ and child care facilities’ drinking water, and conducts targeted outreach as part of this effort.   In our efforts to promote testing on a national basis, EPA targets underserved communities that have high blood lead levels.  Read more information on how to conduct voluntary testing for lead in drinking water in your school or child care facility.

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Lead Poisoning Prevention Grants

For many years, lead poisoning prevention grants have been a critical part of EPA’s lead program. With measurable results in communities across the United States, these grants have funded programs like local testing of children for lead and residential lead assessment and cleanups. The number of U.S. children with elevated blood lead levels has dropped significantly since 1978.

Between 2000 and 2010, EPA provided $17.2 million in grant funding for lead poisoning prevention projects. When lead grant funds become available again, EPA will continue to award them through these three programs. We are not currently soliciting grants at this time.

  • National Community-Based Lead Grant Program: These grants have been given to eligible entities to reduce the number of childhood lead poisonings in low income communities with older housing. Grant activities include outreach, training, ordinance development, and other efforts that result in reduction of childhood lead poisoning.
  • Targeted Lead Grant Program: These grants fund lead-poisoning-protection projects in areas with high incidences of children with elevated blood-lead levels in vulnerable populations. They address immediate needs of the communities in which they are awarded, and serve as models for lead-poisoning-prevention strategies that can be used in similar communities across the country.
  • Tribal Grant Program: Under this program, EPA evaluates proposals from federally-recognized Indian tribes and tribal consortia to support tribal lead poisoning prevention educational outreach and to conduct a baseline assessment of tribal children's existing and potential exposure to lead-based paint and related lead-based paint hazards.

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Environmental Justice

Grants to Assist Local Communities with Lead and other Issues 
Pollution has significant economic and human health impacts, particularly on overburdened and low-income communities. EPA’s environmental justice programs provide grants and funding to states and communities to address environmental problems such as lead in  affected communities.

Environmental Justice Achievement Awards 
EPA recognizes partnerships that address local environmental justice concerns resulting in positive environmental and human health benefits in communities. The following organizations have received Environmental Justice Achievement Awards:

Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) Program 
CARE provides funds and technical assistance for community-based, community-driven, multimedia projects, which can address lead poisoning prevention and education.  CARE builds partnerships to help underserved communities understand and reduce risks from all sources of pollutants.

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International Work

Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead in Paints (GAELP or the Global Alliance)

Working though international bodies, EPA often joins with other countries to help solve worldwide environmental problems.  One example is the Global Alliance.  Working under the umbrella of its secretariats, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Exit EPA Disclaimer and the World Health Organization Exit EPA Disclaimer  (WHO), the Alliance is aimed at phasing out the manufacture and sale of paints containing lead, and eventually eliminating risks such as lead paint, since it contributes to lead exposure and poisoning, especially in children.

The Alliance’s objectives are:

  • Raising awareness of toxicity to human health and the environment and alternatives
  • Providing guidance and assistance to identify potential lead exposure
  • Providing assistance to industry — manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers
  • Creating prevention programs to reduce exposure
  • Promoting national regulatory frameworks

EPA is an active member of the Global Alliance and serves as the lead sponsor for its Environmental Focal Area, the objective of which is to establish global common guidelines on best environmental practices using best available technologies on lead content in paint and on how to minimize or eliminate exposures from lead in paint.

Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles

EPA is a partner in the United Nations Environment Programme’s Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV)Exit EPA Disclaimer which promotes cleaner fuels and vehicles in developing and transition countries.  Along with reducing sulfur in fuels, and promoting cleaner, more efficient vehicles, one of the key elements of the PCFV is the global elimination of lead in gasoline.  There are still a few countries left using leaded fuels only, and several that use a mix of leaded and unleaded. 

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