As Presidential Task Force Convenes, Environment America Urges the Trump Administration to Get the Lead Out

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John Rumpler

Clean Water Director and Senior Attorney, Environment America

Environment America

As EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt today convenes the long-standing Presidential Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children to discuss lead contamination, John Rumpler, director of Environment America’s Clean Water for America campaign, made the following statement:

“As the presidential task force meets today, the core question is whether the Trump administration will commit to decisive action to “get the lead out” of our children’s lives.  We now know that lead is contaminating drinking water in communities across the country.  Any credible plan to address this pervasive threat to children’s health would include the following measures:  

  • Remove all lead service lines. These toxic pipes remain the single greatest source of lead contamination of water at 7 to 11 million homes, child care centers, and other places. EPA should require water utilities to fully replace these toxic pipes and to provide filters certified to remove lead in the meantime.  And at the very least, HUD should require lead service line replacement as part of its “lead-free” housing program.

  • Strengthen enforcement and standards to protect health.  There is no safe level of lead exposure. Administrator Pruitt should reject the current “action level” of 15 parts per billion, and require water utilities to take preventive steps to ensure safe drinking water.

  • Start protecting our children at school and pre-school. We need to remove lead-laden faucets and fountains, install filters, and adopt a 1 part per billion standard for water at school as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • Commit significant resources. Eliminating lead contamination of our water will cost money. Replacing lead service lines alone will cost $30 billion or more.  Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s proposed budget contains a tiny fraction of the funding needed to “get the lead out” of our drinking water.

“Lead is a serious threat to children’s health. Even at low levels, this potent neurotoxin damages children’s brains and impairs their learning, development, and health.  As the Presidential Task Force meets today, we urge the administration to move beyond the empty rhetoric of a “war on lead” to the decisive action our children’s health demands.”