EPA Launches Nationwide Initiative to Reduce Lead Exposure in Underserved Communities
WASHINGTON – In accordance with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing environmental justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is launching a new training initiative, Enhancing Lead-Safe Work Practices through Education and Outreach (ELSWPEO), to raise awareness about childhood lead exposure and protect environmentally overburdened and underserved communities across the United States from lead exposure.
Many homes, apartments and child-care facilities built before 1978 contain lead-based paint. When disturbed, lead-based paint can release toxic lead dust and cause lead exposure, which is particularly harmful to children. While lead is dangerous to all children, lead exposure disproportionately impacts low-income families and their communities, making the free trainings offered by ELSWPEO an important step toward achieving environmental justice.
“Unfortunately, underserved communities are still dealing with the hazards of lead exposure,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. “These trainings have a dual purpose of increasing economic opportunities and expanding the understanding of lead’s potential impacts on children’s health. Both are critical in giving communities the tools they need to protect themselves.”
ELSWPEO aims to serve local communities and advance environmental justice by increasing both the number of renovation, repair and painting (RRP) certified firms and consumer demand for lead-safe work practices. This two-pronged approach to reducing lead exposure includes the following initiatives:
- Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) training for contractors: EPA will provide free trainings, in both English and Spanish depending on the location, for contractors working in selected communities, offering an opportunity for them to become RRP certified. Anyone who is paid to perform work that disturbs paint in housing and child-occupied facilities built before 1978 per the Lead RRP Rule must be certified, and this training is designed to equip contractors and firms with the tools they need to serve their communities and adhere to the Lead RRP Rule.
- Lead Awareness Curriculum Train-the-Trainer sessions for community leaders: EPA will offer free Lead Awareness Curriculum Train-the-Trainer sessions, in English with simultaneous Spanish interpretation, designed to equip community leaders with tools and resources needed to educate their communities about lead, lead exposure and actions that can be taken to reduce and prevent childhood lead exposure, including hiring RRP certified contractors. The Lead Awareness Curriculum is a series of four modules which include lesson plans, worksheets, key messages, presentation slides, and kids’ activity sheets that community leaders and other instructors can use to improve public awareness of the dangers associated with lead exposure and promote preventative actions.
EPA is proud to facilitate both RRP trainings and Lead Awareness Curriculum Train-the-Trainer sessions in the following communities: Albuquerque, NM; the Bismark-Mandan, ND area; Hartford, Conn.; Los Angeles County, Calif.; Miami, Fla; Peoria, Ill.; Reading, Pa.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; San Diego County, Calif.; Boise, Idaho; and Trenton, NJ. These communities reflect the diversity of the United States, have known lead exposure issues, and demonstrated a need for RRP certified contractors.
The RRP trainings and Lead Awareness Curriculum Train-the-Trainer sessions work hand in hand to increase awareness of the potential dangers of lead exposure and actions that can be taken to reduce potential exposure to lead, including the availability of RRP certified contractors in traditionally underserved communities.
More information on ELSWPEO training dates and locations, outreach materials, and general information can be found at
Information on ELSWPEO in Spanish can be found at