Get the Lead Out: Biden Administration Pledges Cross-Government Strategy to Protect Children and Communities at Risk

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a whole-of-government strategy intended to curb exposure to lead found in contaminated water, paint, air and soil, with a focus on children and communities at high-risk. There is no safe level of lead exposure. 

The following is a reaction from Erik D. Olson, Senior Strategic Director for Health and Food at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):

“The cross-government lead strategy announced by the Biden EPA is our best chance to end the urgent and entirely preventable public health crisis caused by lead exposure. This work will require tougher standards, vigorous enforcement, clear deadlines for action, and an unrelenting commitment to equity and justice for communities that bear the undue burden of lead contamination. 

“Lead robs children of their future, especially children living in poverty and children of color. More than a century ago, science established that lead can cause devastating health harm, yet today children drink water contaminated  by lead, inhale lead emitted into the air from industrial processes and airplanes, and play in lead-laden homes and soils.”

The Lead Strategy released today failed to outline specific actions the EPA will take to address drinking water contaminated by lead service lines. Earlier this year, the Biden EPA committed to announce the actions it will take to address lead in drinking water by December 16, 2021, in response to a lawsuit filed by NRDC and others. NRDC, states, and others sued to block the weak Trump federal drinking water regulation, as it left millions of people exposed to toxic lead in drinking water, in many cases for another 33 years or more.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also announced today that it has reduced its blood lead reference value from 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter to 3.5 micrograms per deciliter, a long-awaited strengthening of its important marker for what is considered elevated.

Additional Resources:

Everything You Need to Know About Lead

Lead Pipes Are Widespread and Used In Every State

What’s Happening With the Lead and Copper Rule?

NRDC Sues EPA for Its Illegal Rule That Will Expose Millions to Toxic Lead in Drinking Water

Despite Major Health Risks, the EPA Plans to Leave Millions of Lead Water Pipes in the Ground

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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