tv Federal Plan to Combat Lead Exposure CSPAN December 19, 2018 10:31am-11:04am EST
justice. it is aimed at stemming the school -- we can debate and people do the merits and the reasoning behind the actual guideline, but what is not debatable is there is an incredible disparity in school discipline. the department of education and office of civil rights have found that black boys, for example, are expelled three times more -- are three times more likely to be expelled than white boys. black girls are six times more likely. see thisked so hard to project through to completion. today's announcement as a result of hard work across multiple agencies. i want to thank everyone else who contributed to this action plan. it is a privilege to have secretary ben carson here with us today. i cannot think of anyone better to explain the importance of today's announcement that dr. carson, one of the world's foremost pediatric neurosurgeons.
we are delighted to have hhs secretary and mr. carson. we are gathered to announce the new federal led action plan -- lead action plan and lay out our roadmap to address lead exposure nationwide. the most fundamental responsibility of government is to protect the people, especially the most vulnerable among us. is a calamity that disproportionately harms children and low income communities. all americans, regardless of their age, rage -- race, income, or home address deserve an opportunity to live in state and -- safe and healthy environments. that is why president trump and this administration are committed to tackling this problem head-on. at epa, we are combating lead on all fronts.
in homes, schools, consumer products, and drinking water. we are updating the lead rule for the first time in over two decades. we are strengthening the dust lead hazard standards and using our grants and financing programs to help communities replace lead pipes and upgrade water infrastructure. we recently published a book titled protection -- protecting children from lead exposure's. that will increase public awareness of these programs. epa and our federal partners are releasing the new, federal lead action plan. impressive collaboration of 70 agencies that make up the task force on environmental health risks and safety risks. it is the blueprint for federal collaboration and will enhance our efforts to reduce lead contamination, especially in areas where it presents a
serious and urgent threat to children. the action plan has four primary goals. goal 1 -- reduce children's exposure to lead sources. specificdetails actions to target lead-based paint, lead in drinking water lead contaminated soil, and lead in consumer products. by focusing on the sources of the problem, we can address contamination before it impacts children. number two, identify lead exposed children and improve their health outcomes. the plan lays out ways to expand lead testing and ensure children who are identified as exposed get the help and care they need and deserve. early identification is critical. it allows health-care providers to intervene sooner and improve the life outcomes of affected children. three, communicate more
effectively with stakeholders. the document identifies ways to streamline and improve federal messaging on dangers of lead exposure, particularly to minority communities and those with limited english proficiency. on efforts toe improve communication in a minute. and conduct support critical research to reduce lead exposure and related health risks. our goal is to generate better data and maps so we can pin. -- pinpoint high exposure communities and target resources to them quickly and effectively. building off of the action plan, here is what epa will do next. we will develop an epa specific implementation plan by march of 2019. this will include performance metrics for monitoring our progress and keeping ourselves accountable to the action plan. we will provide regular updates on our progress.
our aggressivee engagement and outreach. improving how we communicate risk is one of my top priorities with the agency. we must be able to speak with one voice and clearly explain the american people the environmental and health risk that they face in their daily lives. our need to improve risk communication goes back to our response to 9/11. the of the information agency released around the ground zero residence and condos in new york city ended up not being the most accurate or correct data. 9/11 is not the only example. there is the river in west virginia a few years ago. and flint, colorado, michigan, which has become the poster child for our need to improve risk communication to impacted and affected communities. how we communicate risk is
proportionately -- disproportionately impacts disadvantaged and underserved communities. they are the want to often live, work, or go to school near areas with environmental hazards. they are impacted by how well or poorly we communicate risk to them on their health. the epa owes it to the american public to be able to explain and simple and easy to understand terms what are the risks that they face in their daily lives. i have made this a priority in my business too often -- and i'm proud to say we are already seeing progress. take the city of st. joseph, missouri. in older neighborhoods throughout the city, there are still homes covered in lead paint. to 2015, 15% of children tested in st. joseph had elevated lead lead levels -- blood lead levels, three times the national average.
meet st.se, our office joseph the focal point of a new lead to task force. they are working closely with the city and community to increase awareness of the dangers of lead-based paint and how families and schools address it. as a result, the number of children tested for lead has decreased in recent years and more families are becoming aware of the dangers and taking steps to safeguard their children. last week, the mayor publicly recognized and thing to epa for its efforts. this is the type of leadership and action we are trying to encourage throughout the country. outsiderts also extend the federal agencies across party lines. i have had a number of meetings and conversations with senator tammy duckworth of illinois, who has introduced several pieces of legislation designed to prevent lead exposure. she is committed to this issue and we are working with senator duckworth and other members of congress to address this important health issue. it ismove forward,
important to remember that the u.s. has made tremendous progress reducing lead exposure over the past several decades. by strengthening laws and , the concentration of blood in -- lead in the blood of children has dropped 95% from 1976 to 2014. more work needs to be done. the new federal lead action plan is an important roadmap that will guide agencies and our partners as we work together to protect children and improve their futures. president trump and this administration are committed to ensuring that all children, regardless of their zip code, can live, learn, and thrive in safe, healthy environments. thank you all for your time and i now have the privilege of introducing the secretary of housing and urban development, and carson. prior to becoming hud secretary, dr. carson devoted his life to
protecting the development of children's brains. as a former director of pediatric neurosurgery at johns hopkins hospital, he is aware of the devastating effects of lead poisoning on a child's mental and physical development. as a neurosurgeon, he transformed the lives of thousands of children for the better. now he is doing the same here in washington. join me in welcoming secretary carson. [applause] >> thank you very much, acting in ministry or wheeler -- acting administrator wheeler. it has been wonderful working with your team. they have been cooperative and helpful. i'm delighted to be here. this whole initiative started when you were acting hhs head and it has been wonderful working with that team.
thank you all for joining us today. i need to recognize some of our talented hud staff. hazarde office of lead control and healthy homes, our who has worked extremely hard to bring today about, along with michelle miller, peter ashley, warren friedman, along with several others. it has been a labor of intensity and love. they all do a tremendous amount of work to carry out our department's lead remediation efforts. they work closely with the other agencies that are here today on this federal action plan. i also want to thank secretary put for the effort he has -- fostered along with secretary harkin in this fight against
environmental hazards to children's health. i look forward to building on this important work together in our future. today, we are here to unveil a federal action plan to reduce childhood lead exposure. hud will also be announcing nearly 140 million -- nearly $140 million in grant funding to 48 states and local government agencies to help protect american children and families from lead-based paint. see the be able to award amount in various districts on our website later today. lead exposure has two distinct qualities. , which iss intensity so severe that it can have crippling long-term effects. second, it's invisibility. whoan go unnoticed by those
are not directly affected. that is why lead testing in children is critically important. -- the detection is done, the more impactful the intervention. lead poisoning and its impact on children is uniquely personal to me. prior to becoming the hud work was asy life's a pediatric neurosurgeon. it was to help, treat, and protect the human brain. the brain, which serves a very important purpose, is the home of the mind. no mind is more precious or more fragile than the mind of a child. a child's mind is blessed with nearly infinite possibilities to develop and to accomplish. you think about the brain and
how complex it is. hundreds of millions of -- hundreds of billions of cells and interconnections, and the ability to process more than 2 million bits of information per second. we certainly, with a tool like that, do not want to allow anything to happen that will decrease its ability. that is why every single one of our children is a resource for us and we must protect them. early in my medical career, i discovered that there is no satisfaction greater than that of preserving and protecting the mind of a child. for this reason, the treatment of children became a calling for me. tor to neurosurgeon, i was made acutely aware of the pernicious effects of lead
poisoning on a child's mental and physical development. as surgeon, some of my saddest moments came after treating a , overcoming the odds by mitigating a seemingly intractable disease, and then watching that child walk out of the hospital door, in many cases back to a hazardous home environment. doctor, my powers help that child ended the moment they walked out of the door. which leads me to our work at hud. i am committed to making sure our department's resources reach the doors of high-risk american stagees at the prevention , long before their children are exposed to dangerous chemicals for which they might later need a cure. hud works with public housing
authorities and private landlords across the country to provide affordable housing to proximally 5 million households. to help ensure that children and serve are safe, office of lead hazard control and healthy homes provides technical guides to our grantees and stakeholders to confront hazards related to rehabilitating damaged homes, such as mold, lead-based paint, and asbestos. earlier this year, hud announced it would make lead hazard reduction grants available to help eliminate dangerous lead-based paint hazards from lower income homes. today, we are announcing the winners of those grants, who are working to put that high-risk desperate to protect high risk -- to protect high-risk american families.
hud is proud to have her --sipated in the task force to have participated in the task force. the task force is unveiling its blueprint of federal action plan to reduce childhood lead exposure's associated health impacts -- exposure and associated health impacts. i will repeat them again. psychologists tell us you need to hear it three times before you remember it. --y are 1 -- reducing's producing children's exposure to lead sources, identifying lead exposure children and improving their health outcomes. three, communicating more effectively. conductingrting and critical research to inform efforts to reduce lead exposure and related health risks. all of those are being done in
conjunction with the other agencies. the plan will accomplish these goals through collaborative efforts and with a range of ,takeholders, including states tribes, and local communities, along with parents, businesses, and property owners. we congratulate today's winners of the lead hazard reduction grants and look forward to working with fellow task force members to enact this powerful new blueprint in doing our part to take the lead in tackling lead. with that, i would like to welcome deputy secretary harkin to the podium. >> thank you all for being here. thank you dr. carson -- thank
you, dr. carson. i would like to echo administrator wheeler. back in february, i participated in a meeting of the president's task force principles m a in which we agreed to produce the plan and discuss the goal that should be included. i am thrilled to be here with all of you mark the release of the action plan. by working together with our partners and the federal state, -- federal, state, local, and territorial levels, we can make progress to reduce child lead exposure and associated health effects. the action plan provides us with a roadmap to achieve that goal. we are proud of hhs's involvement in the develop of the action plan. in addition to cochairing the task force, experts from across our department have been actively involved in producing the action plan and will work to
implement the plan within their respective agencies. some of the subject matter experts are here today, although others, including those from the cdc and the national institute of environmental health sciences , were not able to be here. on behalf of secretary azor and myself, i would like to thank our scientific and public health experts across the federal government for your work on this issue. it is vital public health work. we work to reduce levels of lead contamination in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the objects we use on a daily basis. the action plan identifies ways that hhs can better participate and support this work. the action plan also contains important provisions to identify children with high flood lead andls -- blood lead levels avoid potential long-term health consequences resulting from lead exposure.
supporting these efforts are the actions identified in goals three and four of the plan. improving munication with the public on lead and supporting research into lead exposure. we at hhs look forward to engaging with our partners to advance these goals. as we work to implement this plan, we are going to continue to update the public on our progress. i have asked the assistant secretary for help in coordinating public health activities across hhs and to monitor the action plan. we are going to continue to work closely with the epa, with hud, and our other task force partners to implement these activities. thank you for joining us to mark this occasion. [applause] >> we are happy to take a few questions from the pump -- press. identify yourself and which
publication you are with. >> i am wondering if epa's previous budgets, including eliminating the lead risk production program, can you commit to not reducing lead budgets in the next program? >> there are other areas where we have increased funding for lead programs. we are moving some of the programs around. we are using that to target a lot of water infrastructure around the country to reduce pipes inaminated communities across the country. andave different programs we are shuffling around from one program to another. we also have new programs on addressing lead pipes in schools and daycare centers. , just ald add to that looking over the last year, year and a half, in our budget flood
prevention, activities has gone over $230illion to million. this is an area where we will continue to place emphasis on something we hope to be able to eliminate. >> next question. >> i am with the associated press. are half a million children under five living in households where they are exposed to levels of lead that require public health action. does this plan include deadlines host: host: for dealing with those contaminated with lead -- deadlines for dealing with those contaminated with lead? is there action recommended or doesn't have specific mandate -- or does it have specific mandates that communities should meet? tough to say that the
action plan across the board has a number of new steps that we have all agreed to take, at least from the epa's perspective. we will have our new lead to dust standards out by the end of working ond we are the lead and copper rules to update to reduce lead and copper pipe contamination around the country. we expect to have our proposal out in the spring. we are moving forward on a number of programs to reduce lead exposure in homes. those different programs envision different enforcement mechanisms and so forth. we are moving forward on a number of different fronts and those are outlined in the report for each of the agencies and departments. >> there are also more efforts underway to identify the affected children and to not only mitigate problems in the case of that child, but in
children who are around them. -- tells usat is there is more issues related to that exposure. as theill be monitoring new regulations are put out and as we continue to work on the limitation of the action plan. we will continue -- on the implementation of the action plan. we will continue to monitor progress as we move on. >> -- high levels of lead -- new york yesterday --? >> is a combination of federal, state, and local responsibilities and tightening those responsibilities, making sure that the housing authorities and the cities in
which they reside recognize their part. it all cannot be done at the federal level. we can certainly set up policies and rules, but enforcement needs to be done at the local level. we are putting in place mechanisms to make sure that does happen. >> -- on a housing authority. >> that fits into another category, outside of this agency . it does fit within the purview and publicsight housing and certain multifamily housing. >> any other questions? i wanted to ask -- the cdc
will lower its levels for determining when children need help. i was wondering if the ministry are could say -- if administrator wheeler could say how you anticipate that will affect your existing standards for lead in soil. >> we are using and working with all of our departments and agencies. as those numbers are revised, we're taking a look at our regulatory programs and it -- advising them accordingly. we are going forward with our new proposal this coming spring, as well as the new lead dust standards for homes by june of next year. we are taking into account the changes in numbers as we work together. it has been a great collaboration of the federal agencies and departments and addressing the lead issue across the board. over the planng
and i noticed a lot if this were orngs already underway underway for several years. you mentioned updating lead and copper rules and updating changes to plumbing. anyyou point to a few or actions in the plan that were not already something your agency or the other agencies were working on prior to the release of this plan? is there anything new in this plan or is this just a compilation of things you are working on? >> it a combination of both. back anyt want to hold new programs until the release of this report. we unveiled this this fall to grant programs to reduce lead pipes in schools and daycare centers. that is included. that is new. we went ahead and launch it this fall because we were able to launch it. we did not want to hold up new programs.
the lead and copper rule has been under review and updated for over 20 years. the obama administration looked at it for their entire eight years. we are close to a proposal this spring. some of these have been worked on for a while, but we did not want to hold up any particular announcement of a new program just for the action plan to come out. this action plan is a compendium of everything the federal government is doing across all agencies and departments and we do not want to lose any time on individual projects. >> so there's nothing new in here? >> there is quite a few new things in there and there are things that were just launched in the last 30 and 60 days that are written up in here. specific milestones for the letter copper rule, things like that, that is new. it may haven't worked on for a while, but we are committing to specific time frames to get these things done. >> thank you all for coming.
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