Jump to main content.

Lead Poisoning Prevention

More on Reducing Risks from Specific Chemicals
Strategic Plan

Goal Four of EPA's Strategic Plan includes a goal to eliminate childhood lead poisoning in the United States as a major public health concern by the year 2010.

As a result of EPA's lead poisoning prevention programs and other efforts across the federal government, children's elevated blood-lead levels in the United States have declined dramatically. In 1978, 3-4 million children had elevated blood-lead levels. By 2002, that number had dropped to 310,000 and it continues to decline.

Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes. Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities to seizures and death. Children under six years of age are most at risk. Research suggests that the primary sources of lead exposure for most children are deteriorating lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust, and lead-contaminated residential soil.

EPA has played a major role in addressing these residential lead hazards. EPA has largely completed the regulatory framework assigned to it by Congress in Title X of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 by:

In order to meet the 2010 federal government goal of eliminating childhood lead poisoning as a major public health concern, EPA is focusing funding resources on the most vulnerable populations in state, localities and tribal areas -- those that have rates of lead poisoning above the national average and those in areas where sufficient screening has not yet occurred to determine rates of lead poisoning. EPA has addressed populations still at risk for elevated blood-lead levels through three competitive grant programs. The grants are available to a wide range of applicants, including state and local governments, federally-recognized Indian tribes and tribal consortia, territories, institutions of higher learning, and nonprofit organizations. 


In 2007, EPA awarded more than $5.2 million in targeted grants to 49 projects in areas with high incidences of children with elevated blood-lead levels in vulnerable populations.

In 2007 and 2008, EPA awarded more than $5.1 million in national community-based grants to 23 projects to reduce the incidence of childhood lead poisoning in communities with older housing and to support community activities such as outreach, training, and local ordinance development projects.

In 2007 and 2008, EPA awarded nearly $1.5 million in Tribal lead grants to 23 tribal projects to reduce the incidence of childhood lead poisoning in tribal communities and will fund educational outreach and baseline assessments of Tribal children's lead exposure.

Read more information about EPA's lead poisoning prevention programs.

Local Navigation

Jump to main content.