WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities (Lead Strategy), in conjunction with National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. This first-ever, agency-wide Lead Strategy outlines how EPA will utilize its full suite of authorities, expertise, and resources to reduce lead exposure in communities overburdened by pollution and advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to environmental justice and equity. The efforts outlined in the strategy to protect the public from lead pollution are supported by the historic investments under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“The evidence is clear. Children exposed to lead are more likely to face adverse health impacts and other serious challenges throughout life —from slowed growth and development to learning and behavioral disabilities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Combined with the historic investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this strategy will accelerate our efforts to identify lead exposures early on and eliminate racial and socioeconomic disparities in blood-lead levels by connecting communities with resources that can reduce lead exposure.”
EPA’s multifaceted Lead Strategy aims to reduce community exposures to lead sources; identify communities with high lead exposures and improve their health outcomes; improve engagement with communities and stakeholders; and support critical research to inform efforts to reduce lead exposures and related health risks.
This work is supported by the unprecedented level of resources flowing to EPA through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes $15 billion in dedicated funding to replace lead pipes and service lines and remove lead from soil and contaminated sites. These historic investments include:
- $1.16 billion to support lead service line projects in 21 states, District of Columbia, and three territories.
- $600 million to cleanup construction projects at more than 50 Superfund sites where lead is a contaminant of concern.
- $25 million over the next 5 years to support small and disadvantaged communities in the development of lead service line identification technologies, ensuring efficient, equitable distribution of resources through EPA State Revolving Funds.
In addition, this new strategy advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to replace lead pipes and support lead paint removal under the Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan.
Lead exposure can cause adverse health effects in almost every organ and system in the human body. The nervous system is the main target for lead in children and adults and exposure can result in irreversible and lifelong decreases in learning, memory, and attention. Ongoing exposures to lead in the environment present a health risk to many people nationwide. This is especially true in communities overburdened by pollution, which are disproportionately communities of color and low-income communities. Communities of color can also face greater risk due to past discriminatory lending practices, historic racial segregation in housing, and reduced access to environmentally safe and affordable housing.
Through this strategy, EPA is initiating several new actions and ensuring established programs across the agency are leveraged together to ensure the strongest protections from lead exposure. New actions in the strategy include:
- Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators, which will provide targeted technical assistance and develop best practices to help address the barriers disadvantaged communities face in replacing lead service lines.
- New federal agency collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to address lead in food, cosmetics, and other consumer goods.
- The development of new educational and engagement materials on children’s health and maternal health regarding lead and heavy metals in cultural products and cookware.
In addition to these new actions, the strategy outlines, for the first time, a whole-of-agency approach for existing programs, regulations, and policies, ensuring coordination to protect the public from lead exposure. These existing programs include training courses for certified Renovation, Repair, and Painting contractors, community outreach and education programs on risks associated with lead-based paint, and resources for lead testing in schools and child care programs.
EPA will monitor implementation progress through a number of measures outlined in the strategy, including milestones for reevaluating regulations and program metrics such as completing 225 Superfund cleanups of lead contamination by fall of 2026. As implementation progresses, EPA will continue to strengthen these efforts and take actions to reach the goals outlined in this strategy.
Engaging with communities across the country, as well as with federal, Tribal, state, and local government partners, was integral to the development of the Lead Strategy, and the final strategy reflects the feedback of a wide array of stakeholders from across the country. Following the releases of the draft Lead Strategy last year, EPA solicited feedback from the public, hosting 11 public listening sessions, one in each of EPA’s 10 regions and an engagement session for Tribes. The agency also received thousands of public comments which informed and improved the final strategy.