Lead campaign warns parents of risks

A major campaign to alert parents to the dangers of their children being exposed to lead has swept the US.

The campaign follows EPA's approval of regulations to reduce exposure to lead-based paints

The campaign follows EPA's approval of regulations to reduce exposure to lead-based paints

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, which this year ran from October 19 to 25, tried to educate parents and children about the risks of lead pollution, especially from lead-paint in housing.

State and federal government bodies were involved in the publicity drive to promote this year's theme Let's Wipe Out Lead Poisoning - Renovate Right!.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which runs the initiative, chose this year's theme to highlight tough regulations it approved in spring that will come into effect in April 2010 (see related story).

As part of the campaign, EPA officials produced a video on Lead Poisoning Week, which can be viewed here.

Just days before National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week kicked off, EPA also beefed up air quality standards for lead to improve public health protection, especially for children.

The new standards tightened the levels of lead allowed in the air tenfold.

It was the first time the nation's lead standards have been changed in 30 years, and followed a wide-ranging review of the latest scientific opinion on lead.

More than 6,000 studies since 1990 have examined the effects of lead on health and the environment. Some have linked exposure to low levels of lead with damage to children's development, including IQ loss.

"America's air is cleaner than a generation ago," said EPA administrator Stephen Johnson.

"With these stronger standards a new generation of Americans are being protected from harmful lead emissions."

Lead emissions have dropped nearly 97% nationwide since 1980, largely as a result of the phasing out of lead in petrol.

By October 2011, EPA will highlight any areas that have to take additional action to reduce their lead air emissions to meet the new standards.

Kate Martin



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