Take the lead: Biden administration pledges to adopt intergovernmental strategy to protect children and communities at risk


WASHINGTON – The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a government-wide strategy to reduce exposure to lead in contaminated water, paint, air and soil, by putting the ‘focus on children and communities at high risk. There is no safe level of exposure to lead.

The following is a reaction from Erik D. Olson, senior strategic director for health and nutrition at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):

“The intergovernmental lead strategy announced by the Biden EPA is our best chance to end the urgent and fully preventable public health crisis caused by lead exposure. This work will require higher standards, vigorous enforcement, clear deadlines for action, and an unwavering commitment to fairness and justice for the communities who bear the undue burden of lead contamination.

“Lead robs children of their future, especially children living in poverty and children of color. Over a century ago, science established that lead can cause devastating damage to health, but today children drink lead contaminated water, inhale lead emitted into the air by industrial processes and airplanes, and play in homes and lead-laden floors.

The lead strategy released today did not describe specific actions the EPA will take to address drinking water contaminated by lead service lines. Earlier this year, Biden’s EPA pledged to announce the steps it will take to tackle lead in drinking water by December 16, 2021, in response to a lawsuit filed by the NRDC and others. The NRDC, states and others have sued to block Trump’s weak federal drinking water regulations because it left millions exposed to toxic lead in drinking water, in many cases for another 33 years. or more.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also announced today that it has reduced its blood lead reference value from 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter to 3.5 micrograms per deciliter, a long-awaited boost to its important marker for what is considered high.

Additional Resources:

Everything you need to know about lead

Lead pipes are widespread and used in all states

What happens with the lead and copper rule?

NRDC sues EPA over illegal rule that will expose millions of people to toxic lead in drinking water

Despite major health risks, EPA plans to leave millions of lead water pipes in the ground


The NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international, non-profit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.


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