Final Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities
Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities
EPA developed the Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities (pdf) (Lead Strategy) to advance EPA’s work to protect the public from lead with an emphasis on high-risk communities. This first-ever, Agency-wide Lead Strategy promotes environmental justice in communities saddled with lead and supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s Executive Order on Advancing Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government reflecting EPA’s commitment to fulfilling the Administration’s historic commitment of resources to replace lead pipes and support lead paint removal under the Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan. Very low levels of lead in children’s blood have been linked to adverse effects on intellect, concentration, and academic achievement. The United States has made substantial progress in reducing lead exposure, but significant disparities remain along racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines. Under this strategy, EPA will focus on eliminating the disparities in blood lead levels by taking specific actions to prevent childhood exposures and exposure inequities that could lead to lifelong health effects and barriers to social and economic well-being.
The Lead Strategy sets out four goals:
- Reduce community exposures to lead sources
- Identify communities with high lead exposures and improve their health outcomes
- Communicate more effectively with stakeholders
- Support and conduct critical research to inform efforts to reduce lead exposures and related health risks.
EPA will follow three approaches to achieve these four goals:
- APPROACH 1: Reduce lead exposures locally with a focus on communities with disparities and promote environmental justice
- APPROACH 2: Reduce lead exposures nationally through protective standards, analytical tools, and outreach
- APPROACH 3: Reduce lead exposures with a “whole of EPA” and “whole of government” approach
Engaging the Agency’s many stakeholders and with federal, tribal, state, and local government partners was an integral part of developing this Lead Strategy. On October 28, 2021, EPA released the draft Lead Strategy and solicited feedback from the public through March of 2022. During the public comment period, EPA hosted 11 public listening sessions on the draft Lead Strategy, one in each of EPA’s 10 regions and an engagement session for tribes. The public also submitted hundreds of substantive comments about the draft Lead Strategy and thousands of additional comments were submitted through mass comment campaigns. As a result of this concerted outreach, EPA received feedback from a wide array of stakeholders and community members from around the country. Public commenters shared many ideas and impassioned perspectives on how to improve the Lead Strategy and how EPA and the whole-of-government can better address lead contamination in communities. EPA considered the comments, and this public input substantially improved the final version of the Lead Strategy. The final Lead Strategy also includes measures for tracking the Agency’s progress in meeting the goals of the strategy, as well as milestones for regulatory actions and updates to guidance and communication products.
Read the complete strategy:
- Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities (pdf)
- FACT SHEET Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities (pdf)
Draft Strategy and Public Outreach
- Draft Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities (pdf)
- Lead Strategy Public comments and Outreach
Approaches and Key Actions of the Strategy
Approach 1: Reduce lead exposures locally with a focus on communities with disparities and promote environmental justice
- The EPA will work with our partners to identify communities where lead exposure and blood lead levels are known or reasonably suspected to be highest and then determine the dominant sources and cumulative exposure pathways. The EPA will subsequently use this knowledge and evidence-based best practices to focus the Agency’s actions under all applicable authorities to reduce risk.
Approach 2: Reduce lead exposures nationally through protective standards, analytical tools, and outreach
- The EPA will prevent and reduce lead exposures by developing and implementing national standards, policy, and guidance; enforcing regulations and statutory requirements; using analytical tools, conducting research, and applying evidence to improve the scientific foundations for methods to reduce and mitigate lead exposure; and soliciting stakeholder input to inform Agency decisions.
Approach 3: Reduce lead exposures with a “whole of EPA” and “whole of government” approach
- The EPA will target opportunities to collaborate across EPA programs and with federal partners and other governmental stakeholders, including states, tribes, cities, and counties, as well as non-governmental organizations and industry stakeholders, to focus the full range of resources to reduce lead exposures from all sources in the most impacted communities across the country. The Agency will use evidence-based strategies for communication and outreach designed to reduce these exposures.