EPA Awards Arkansas $244,000 to Protect Children from Lead in Drinking Water
DALLAS – (Oct. 29, 2021) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded $224,000 to the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) to help identify sources of lead in drinking water in schools or child care facilities. The funding will help protect children and helps advance the federal action plan to reduce childhood lead exposures. This award brings ADE’s total funding under the program to $664,000.
“Protecting children’s health is one of the most important aspects of EPA’s mission, and we could not fulfill this mission without the instrumental partnerships with our states and tribes,” said Acting Regional Administrator David Gray. “As part of Lead Poisoning Prevention Week and Children’s Health Month, EPA is excited to announce the WIIN grants to help reduce lead in school drinking waters and protect children where they learn and play.”
ADE’s award is part of $26 million in funding under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act for states, territories, and tribes to test for lead in schools and childcare facilities. The Voluntary Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care Drinking Water grant program continues to help protect children’s health and make progress under the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures.
The grants support EPA’s action plan for reducing lead in school drinking water—Training, Testing, and Taking Action, or the 3 Ts. This toolkit helps prepare schools, child care facilities, and states to build a voluntary implementation program to reduce lead levels in drinking water with detailed training modules and materials. Learn more about the 3 Ts here: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/3ts-reducing-lead-drinking-water
EPA recognizes October as Children’s Health Month to highlight how children can be more vulnerable to pollutants than adults, which can lead to greater exposure and/or unique windows of susceptibility during development. This is especially true of lead—an exposure that would have little effect on an adult can have a significant effect on a child. In fetuses, infants and children, low levels of exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells. Lead in drinking water is one of the main ways children can be exposed to lead.
Learn more about EPA’s WIIN grant programs at https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/wiin-grant-lead-testing-school-and-child-care-program-drinking-water
Learn more about lead exposure and other children’s health issues at https://www.epa.gov/children
Results of ADE’s testing program are available here: https://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/Offices/learning-services/school-health-services/lead-testing-opportunity
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