April 6, 2017
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to slash funding for programs that protect children from dangerous lead exposure. The move would eliminate programs that raise public awareness about the toxic metal’s risks and train workers on how to safely remove lead-based paint.
Research has shown that the neurotoxic effects of lead on a child’s developing brain can be devastating and irreversible. An estimated 2.6 percent of preschool children in the U.S. have a blood lead concentration greater than 5 micrograms per deciliter, the level at which the federal government recommends public health intervention.
Elevated blood lead levels can lead to increased aggression, lack of impulse control, hyperactivity, inability to focus, inattention, and delinquent behaviors. A growing body of evidence has also shown that low blood lead levels are associated with multiple issues such as lowered IQ levels, attention-related behaviors and poor academic achievement.
The EPA has also proposed slashing a $14.05 million program that provides grants to state and tribal jurisdictions that tackle lead-based paint risks. In the memo, the EPA states that the “funding for this mature program is eliminated, returning the responsibility for funding to state.”