EPA Announcement on Lead Pollution Monitoring is a Holiday Message to Children: We're Watching Out For You!

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made a welcome announcement that will help protect children nationwide. EPA is expanding the nation’s air quality monitoring network to ensure that communities downwind from lead polluters will get the air monitoring they need to assure safety.

There are an estimated 114 facilities nationwide, such as smelters, cement kilns, powerplants, and industrial boilers, that will now be monitored, whereas under prior Bush-era rules they were ignored. During the Bush administration, the national lead monitoring network had dwindled, despite the thousands of lead polluters. Most communities simply had no idea that were located downwind of a significant lead polluter. If you’re curious about whether you live near a lead polluter, check out our maps.  

The current EPA has firmly rejected the “what you don’t know won’t hurt you” approach to toxic lead pollution. Today's announcement means EPA is watching out for kids by monitoring the air for safety. Lead is a highly toxic pollutant – even low levels can permanently damage children’s IQ, memory, learning, and behavior.

The lead that comes out of the smokestacks of these facilities floats in the air, settles down on the soil, is tracked into the home, and can end up on children’s hands and in their mouths. Heck, Santa Claus could get contaminated from the lead on the rooftops, and slide down the chimney with an unwelcome gift! Well, even if you don’t believe in Santa, there’s a lot to be grateful for this holiday season, and a good lead monitoring network is a fitting holiday present for an environmentalist.