EPA Fails to Protect Children’s Health with Proposed Update to Lead and Copper Rule

Media Contacts


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just released its long-awaited proposal to update the federal Lead and Copper Rule.

 Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate for CALPIRG released the following statement in response:

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has squandered the opportunity to protect children’s health in their new proposal to update the lead and copper rule. In the first update in nearly 30 years, the EPA had an obligation to protect children and communicate to the country that there is no safe level of lead.”

“Instead by slowing down replacement of lead service lines, extending the timeline for water agencies to remove outdated lead service lines by two decades, they ensure more lead exposure for children in communities across the country for years to come.” 

“Keeping the ‘action level’ at 15 parts per billion; instead of establishing a health based maximum contaminant level of 1 ppb, or lowering the action level for water districts, they continue to send a message that the EPA tolerates lead in drinking water at levels fifteen times the levels set as a maximum by the American Academy of Pediatrics.” 

 “Furthermore, they require only very limited testing and action at schools and day care centers. Failing to require comprehensive testing for lead in drinking water at schools and daycare centers as well as action to get the lead out, means children will continue to be exposed to lead in drinking water while in the classroom.” 

“Lead exposure is the most preventable public health threat, and the EPA’s proposed changes fail to protect children’s health. In the absence of federal leadership, its time for California to step up and adopt a stronger state lead and copper rule that will truly protect children from this preventable health threat.” 

 “California has already taken leadership by requiring testing and remediation in day care centers, and requiring all schools test some outlets for lead. Since then, San Diego Unified School District, Los Angeles Unified School District and Oakland Unified School District have adopted stronger district wide policies to get out lead. However, more action is needed statewide. Comprehensive testing for lead in the drinking water is needed in schools along with a commitment to get out the lead whenever it is found.” 

staff | TPIN

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