Lead is a dangerous neurotoxin that can cause significant harm to children. Children that are exposed to lead are more at risk of having ADHD, having lower IQs, and underperforming in school. It is estimated that 9.2 million homes throughout the US have lead services lines, many of them in underserved communities.
Under the Trump Administration, the EPA revised the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) to decrease lead service line removal, with many smaller utilities becoming completely exempt from removing these lines under many circumstances. Furthermore, the LCR continues to maintain a misleading and outdated action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) for lead in drinking water, when in fact both the Center’s for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics state that any lead exposure poses a risk to developing children.
The Biden Administration is currently deliberating on whether to keep the Trump LCR amendment, which is why NYLCV is continuing to fight to make sure that the EPA adopts more effective water quality regulations. NYLCV recently signed on to a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to amend a revision to the Lead and Copper Rule. Along with 147 other organizations, NYLCV is urging the EPA to remove the previous administration’s harmful revision and instead implement new broad changes to the LCR that would prioritize decreasing lead exposure.
Firstly, the EPA needs to mandate full lead service line removal for affected all water systems within 10 years. Service for such an undertaking is currently being undertaken in Congress. Secondly, LCR needs to require more sampling that focuses on higher-risk homes. Thirdly, LCR must set the actionable limit of lead exposure to at least 5 ppb, with the hope that eventually it can be lowered to less than 1 ppb. Fourthly, instead of continuing a “test-and-remediate” approach, LCR should incentivize preventative measures, such as water filtration, to decrease lead exposure. Lastly, EPA must increase visibility on this pressing lead issue, making the public more knowledgeable and able to demand action.
Now is a pivotal moment for environmental advocacy. What we do will impact how our government affects the air we breathe and the water we drink. NYLCV is committed to making sure that the Biden Administration makes the right decisions to remove lead in our drinking water.