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EPA Awards $1.9 Million to Water Research Foundation to Research Lead in Drinking Water

04/25/2018
Contact Information: 
Richard Mylott (mylott.richard@epa.gov)
303-312-6654

DENVER--   Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $1,981,500 in funding to the Water Research Foundation in Denver, Colo., to research strategies to reduce lead exposure in drinking water.

"Lead exposure is one of the greatest environmental threats we face as a country, and it’s especially dangerous for our children,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “This research will move us one step closer to advancing our work to eradicate lead in drinking water."

The Water Research Foundation will use this funding to create a risk-based model to identify opportunities to mitigate lead exposure from drinking water, including at homes and among children and pregnant women. In addition, they will develop a communication framework that focuses on education and outreach for risk factors and mitigation opportunities. The communication framework will be a resource for vulnerable communities and water utilities, as well as the general public and other stakeholders.

“The ultimate objective of this research is to go beyond advancing the science by providing resources that effectively reduce exposure from lead in drinking water,” said Research Manager for The Water Research Foundation Jonathan Cuppett. “The critical components of the project include generating a risk based computational model, identifying lead mitigation opportunities, and developing a communication framework to educate stakeholders on lead exposure."

Administrator Pruitt has made it a priority to reduce lead exposure and address associated health impacts, while also protecting America’s waters. The grant announced today to the Water Research Foundation is one of two grants totaling almost four million dollars to detect and control lead in America’s drinking water. EPA also awarded $1.9 million to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., to create a consumer-based framework to detect and control lead in drinking water.

For more information about these grants: https://www.epa.gov/research-grants/water-research-grants

Background:
On February 16, Administrator Pruitt hosted key members of the Trump Administration to collaborate on the development and implementation of a new Federal Strategy to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Eliminate Associated Health Impacts. The President’s Task Force aims to make addressing childhood lead exposure a priority for their respective departments and agencies. Lead exposure, particularly at higher doses, continues to pose a significant health and safety threat to children, preventing them from reaching the fullest potential of their health, their intellect, and their future. No blood lead level is safe for children. EPA and our federal partners are committed to a collaborative approach to address this threat, and improve health outcomes for our nation’s most vulnerable citizens – our children.

Unlike most drinking water contaminants, lead is rarely found in the source water used for public water supplies. Instead, lead can enter tap water when plumbing materials containing lead corrode. Exposure to lead causes health problems ranging from stomach problems to brain damage and studies consistently demonstrate the harmful effects of lead exposure on children, including cognitive function and decreased academic performance. It is particularly dangerous to children because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.

Lead is particularly dangerous to children because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. A pregnant woman’s exposure to lead from drinking water is of particular concern because it can result in exposure to her developing baby.

More information about lead: www.epa.gov/lead