EPA, HHS encourages states to use funding for lead mitigation in schools, daycares

March 29, 2023
The federal groups issued a joint letter encouraging state and local governments to use funding to remove lead from drinking water in early care and education settings.

The U.S. EPA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have issued a joint letter to encourage governments to reduce and remove lead in drinking water in early care and education settings, like elementary schools and daycare facilities.

“The science is clear: there is no safe level of lead of exposure to lead — especially for our children,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “We are encouraging our state and local partners to join us in this critical effort and leverage the unprecedented levels of federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to reduce childhood lead exposure.”

EPA and HHS are encouraging federal, state, and local governments to use every tool to deliver clean drinking water, replace lead pipes, and remediate lead paint.

Funding for this collaborative initiative can come from both the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, among other federal resources. EPA says that these federal investments have the potential to be transformative and to act as a catalyst to achieve lead-free water for all, especially for children who are most susceptible to the health impacts from lead exposure.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law dedicates $15 billion to removing lead from drinking water including in early child care settings. In the coming days, EPA will be announcing this year’s drinking water funding supporting states, Tribes, and territories in upgrading critical infrastructure and improving access to safe drinking water across the nation.

States can also take administrative measures to support the health and safety of children in early care and education settings by establishing or strengthening licensing and monitoring requirements or improving blood lead screening programs. In addition, states can provide technical assistance and resources to meet lead testing and remediation requirements, including use of the EPA 3Ts (Training, Testing, and Taking Action) voluntary program to help schools and child care facilities make progress on reducing lead in drinking water.

More info is available at the following web pages: EPA WIIN Grant: Voluntary School and Child Care Lead Testing and Reduction Grant Program and HHS Strategy Resources to Support Access to Safe and Healthy Early Care and Education Facilities.

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