Sending Office: Honorable Jared F. Golden
End Lead’s Toxic Legacy Once and for All: Cosponsor the Lead Free Future Act
Supported by the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative
Lead exposure changes the structure and function of children’s developing brains, causing damage that cannot be repaired. Children who are born developmentally healthy become impaired simply because they live in homes with chipping, peeling lead-based paint,
lead in the water they drink, and lead in the soil where they play. Lead exposure leads to poorer academic performance, behavioral health problems, and lifelong diminished opportunity. A 2017 study by Pew Charitable Trusts found a combined average return of
$2.77 for every dollar spent removing lead-based paint hazards and replacing lead service lines in pre-1978 housing. This return on investment is derived from both lowered education and health costs and increased tax revenue, as a result of avoiding the lifelong
adverse outcomes of lead exposure.
For decades, we have known about the irreparable impact of lead exposure. We’ve known how to take action to protect children in our cities, towns and rural communities from environmental lead hazards. The missing link is the level of investment that meets
the scale of the problem, and would allow us to end lead’s toxic legacy once and for all. That is why I plan to introduce the Lead Free Future Act, a bold plan to do just this. Through leveraged federal investment and prevention-focused
standards, this legislation aims to eliminate the major sources of lead exposure for America’s children over the next five years through:
$12 billion in Lead Clean-Up Grants over 5 years ($2.4 billion annually) and leveraged by an anticipated $500 million in private and philanthropic funding. Administered jointly by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental
Protection Agency, these grants will support efforts to target and remediate lead hazards in housing, drinking water, and soil in pre-1978 residential properties of low-to-moderate income communities across the country. The grant program enables communities,
including rural communities and small towns which have historically been left out of lead remediation funding programs, to make bold investments in housing, drinking water infrastructure and environmental clean-up; investments which will holistically and meaningfully
reduce the risk of lead exposure for this generation of children, unlocking the health and educational potential and resulting in a measurable return on investment.
Support for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program of $500 million
over 5 years ($100 annually), to support blood lead surveillance, outreach and education in all states, territories and tribal lands. This provision ensures that lead poisoning prevention resources are allocated based on the most complete and
data-driven picture of lead poisoning risk. More support for lead surveillance and education allows public health professionals to identify areas of elevated risk for lead exposure and direct resources to primary prevention before a child is poisoned.
A mandate for states and jurisdictions to move to the CDC-recommended blood lead reference level or a lower level, in order to be eligible to receive any federal lead poisoning prevention funds. In 2012, the CDC definitively declared that
there is no safe level of lead and set a blood lead reference level of 5mg/dL, above which services should be offered to mitigate the impact of lead poisoning. However, most states have yet to move to the CDC’s blood lead reference level, causing families
to have to wait until their children are harmed even further from higher levels of lead exposure before getting access to these critical services.
A requirement that lead-based paint and lead hazards in drinking water and soil are assessed and remediated prior to sale, transfer or occupancy of federally-assisted properties.
Federally-assisted properties include those receiving federal mortgage assistance or federal mortgage insurance through the Federal Housing Administration, or tenant- or project-based rental assistance through HUD. This mandate ensures that federal
dollars will no longer be used to propagate lead hazards in the residential property market.
Together, we can act to protect America’s children from the life-long impact of lead exposure, make investments that will allow in our communities to reap returns for decades to come, and end lead’s toxic legacy once and for all. If you have any questions
or would like to cosponsor the Lead Free Future Act, please contact Eric Kanter in my office at Eric.Kanter@mail.house.gov or 202-225-6306.
Member of Congress
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