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The purpose of the Lead Exposures Subcommittee is to facilitate interagency coordination around childhood lead exposures and related effects, including research activities and sharing of information with the public, in order to better understand and prevent disease and disabilities in children from lead.
Due to significant federal regulatory action, the United States has made tremendous progress in reducing lead exposure, resulting in lower childhood blood lead levels over time. From 1988 to 2014, the percentage of children aged 1–5 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reference level for lead (blood lead levels less than or equal to 5 micrograms per deciliter) declined from 25.6 percent to 1.9 percent. Blood lead levels fell dramatically for all racial and ethnic groups. However, despite this decline, lead exposure remains a significant health concern for children, causing serious neurological, cognitive, and other effects.
Today, about 3.6 million U.S. families with a child under age 6 live in a home with structures, such as windows, doors, stairs railings, and porches, that contain lead-based paint. Children can be exposed to dangerous levels of lead when this paint chips or flakes off and is breathed in or eaten. There are approximately 500,000 children ages 1 to 5 years with blood lead levels higher than the CDC reference level. Lead exposure is not equal among all children–national data suggest minority children, children living in families below the poverty level, and children living in older housing have significantly higher risk for elevated blood lead levels. No safe blood lead level in children has been identified.
The goals of this subcommittee include:
The Task Force Lead Subcommittee is helping to coordinate across the relevant federal agencies as they work to implement the goals of the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts.
Lead Action Plan (8MB)
This report of the President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children catalogs federal efforts to understand, prevent, and reduce various sources of lead exposure among children. The report, Key Federal Programs to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Eliminate Associated Health Impacts, provides a starting point for a comprehensive federal lead strategy, and will enable increased coordination and collaboration among federal agencies to further protect the nation's children.
In 2000, the Task Force released a set of recommendations aimed at eliminating childhood lead poisoning in the United States. The report focuses primarily on expanding efforts to correct lead paint hazards (especially in low-income housing), a major source of lead exposure for children.