EPA is poised to release its final strategy to reduce lead exposures, especially in environmental justice communities, after it recently cleared interagency review, setting the stage for the development of revised cleanup guidance that is expected to drive additional investigation and remediation at hundreds of thousands of sites with lead-contaminated soil.
“This strategy that we have that’s coming out to reduce that exposure to disparities in U.S. communities is groundbreaking in its attention across EPA programs on how we can address the people who are most vulnerable and are facing the greatest exposure,” Carlton Waterhouse, deputy assistant administrator of the EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM), said Oct. 20 at the annual meeting of the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) in Arlington, VA.
Waterhouse told Inside EPA that the lead strategy has recently cleared interagency review, and is designed to support all offices within EPA in tailoring lead exposure reduction efforts to focus on underserved communities.
While Waterhouse did not give a timeline for the strategy’s release, EPA’s website notes that Oct. 23-29 is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, a time when the agency could be expected to highlight efforts it is taking to reduce lead exposures.
A draft version of the EPA’s “Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities,” which was released last October, says the final version will “lay out an all-of-EPA plan to strengthen public health protections and address legacy lead contamination for communities with the greatest exposures and promote environmental justice [EJ].”