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EPA Releases New Curriculum to Protect Children in Indian Country and Communities from Lead Exposure

10/21/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (October 21, 2020) —As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) celebration of Children’s Health Month, the agency released a curriculum to help tribes and all communities protect children from potential lead exposure. The Lead Awareness in Indian Country: Keeping our Children Healthy! curriculum advances the Trump Administration’s commitment to the  Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts by providing practical, on-the-ground, community-based resources to reduce childhood lead exposure.

“EPA is dedicated to working closely with our partners to improve the health and safety of children,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “Lead exposure disproportionately impacts children and this curriculum is an easy-to-use resource designed to empower tribes and other communities to take an active role in reducing childhood lead exposure.”

“We are pleased that this curriculum reflects the vision that EPA had from its inception that it would be built in close collaboration with tribes and would reflect tribal specific issues and solutions for all tribes and communities,” said Chair of the National Tribal Toxics Council Dianne Barton. “Our experiences with the pilots indicate that the curriculum’s materials can be easily tailored and modified to meet individual tribal program needs such as Head Start, tribal housing authority, maintenance or environmental education. The curriculum is beneficial and convenient for everyone to use in their own communities.”

EPA collaborated with the National Tribal Toxics Council and the National EPA-Tribal Science Council to develop the curriculum to include relevant tribal scenarios and cultural information to increase awareness and education in Indian country. As a result, the curriculum was developed in partnership with over 200 tribal representatives from approximately 80 different tribal governments and tribal organizations. These partners evaluated and enhanced materials by providing feedback during development or by attending one of seven curriculum pilots hosted by tribes and tribal organizations.

The Lead Awareness in Indian Country: Keeping our Children Healthy! 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. The design balances diverse community backgrounds, technical information and localized knowledge to allow instructors an opportunity to plan and deliver unique messages within each structured module. The format establishes a community-based platform where learning and teaching strategies come together to focus on meaningful community engagement.

The curriculum improves the understanding of lead’s potential impacts on children’s health and cultural practices and encourages actions that can be taken to reduce and/or prevent childhood lead exposure.

Since the 1970s, the United States has made tremendous progress in lowering children’s blood lead levels. 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 safe level of lead exposure has been identified for children, making them particularly vulnerable and underscoring that anything you can do to reduce exposure can improve life outcomes. 

To view the curriculum and learn more about EPA’s actions on lead, visit https://www/epa.gov/lead