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Basic Information

What is the issue and why should people care?

Lead contamination at Superfund sites presents a threat to human health and the environment. This is important because lead, a naturally-occurring element, can be harmful to humans (particularly children) when ingested or inhaled (please refer to the Human Health page for more information). As a result of past and current industrial usage, lead has become a common environmental contaminant at Superfund sites across the country. To learn more about the effects of lead poisoning and EPA's role in reducing the presence of lead in the environment, visit the EPA's Lead Web page.

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What is EPA doing about it?

EPA performs various response actions under The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) at Superfund sites to address a release or threat of release of a hazardous substance such as lead into the environment. EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have determined that childhood blood lead (PbB) concentrations at or above 10 micrograms of Pb per deciliter of blood (µg Pb/dL) present risks to children's health. Accordingly, EPA response actions seek to limit the risk that children will have lead concentrations above 10 µg Pb/dL and the Agency conducts risk assessments that reduce the likelihood that such exposures would occur.

To help in making this determination, the Integrated Exposure Uptake Biokinetic (IEUBK) model and the Adult Lead Methodology (ALM) have been developed to estimate the concentration of lead in the blood of children, pregnant women, and their developing fetuses who might be exposed to lead-contaminated soils. The level to which EPA remediates lead contamination at Superfund sites is in large part determined by risk assessors' application of the IEUBK model and the ALM to estimate blood lead concentrations, which can then be correlated to estimate possible adverse health effects in persons who have been exposed.

In order to assist in the use of the IEUBK model and the ALM and to ensure consistency in their application, EPA has convened two workgroups:

These two workgroups address risk assessment and risk management issues. Please also refer to the Technical Assistance page for information on requesting technical assistance from the TRW.

Please refer to the Software and Users' Manuals page as well as the Guidance page for important documents related to the LSW, the TRW, IEUBK model, the ALM, and risk assessment.

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What are others doing about it?

To learn more about what other federal agencies, states, counties, and private groups are doing to prevent lead exposure, visit the EPA's Other Lead Links page.

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What can you (as a person or as an organization) do about it?

Education is the key. EPA's Lead Awareness Program designs outreach activities and educational materials, awards grants, and manages a toll-free hotline to help parents, home owners, and lead professionals learn what they can do to protect their families, and themselves, from the dangers of lead.

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Other resources to learn more

Other resources to learn more (including non-EPA Web sites) are provided on the Related Links page.

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