Trump Unveils Plan To Keep Children From Getting Lead Poisoning

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Top members of the Trump administration announced the details of a federal action plan to treat and prevent childhood lead exposure.

Environmental Protection Agency acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson revealed Wednesday the Trump administration’s “Federal Lead Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts.” Otherwise known simply as the “Federal Lead Action Plan,” the initiative aims to reduce children’s exposure to lead poising while also upgrading treatment for children who have already been exposed.

“The Federal Lead Action Plan will enhance the Trump Administration’s efforts to identify and reduce lead contamination while ensuring children impacted by lead exposure are getting the support and care they need,” Wheeler said Wednesday, unveiling the plan to a crowd of over 30 EPA, HUD and HHS employees.

On top of streamlining preventative measures, the action plan will also support critical research that will aid efforts in combating lead exposure and any related health risks.

“The Trump administration’s new Lead Action Plan reflects our strong commitment to preventing future generations from being affected by lead exposure,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar stated Wednesday. “We know that lead exposure at a young age can result in serious effects on IQ, attention span, and academic achievement. We need to continue taking action to prevent these harmful effects. Identifying lead-exposed children, connecting them with appropriate services, and preventing other children from being exposed to lead are important public health priorities for this administration.” (RELATED: Ninth Circuit Tells EPA To Crack Down On Lead Paint)

The EPA intends to finalize an implementation plan by March 2019. The plan will include performance metrics in order to monitor progress, and the EPA will provide recurring updates to the public on their progress.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler addresses staff at EPA headquarters in Washington

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler addresses staff at EPA headquarters in Washington, U.S., July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Ting Shen.

The announcement Wednesday was just the latest in the Trump administration’s efforts against lead poisoning.

The EPA has embarked on a “war on lead” initiative since early 2018. The widespread effort aims to rid the country of drinking water that’s lead contamination. Wheeler — who will likely soon lead the EPA in an official capacity — announced in October that his agency is overhauling a decades-old rule that regulates levels of copper and lead in drinking water.

Trump signed the Water Infrastructure Act in October, green-lighting over $6 billion in federal spending on harbors, waterways, ports and other projects — and doling out aid to the residents of Flint, Michigan, where residents have suffered from a lead contamination crisis.

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