The Environmental Protection Agency is taking actions to protect America’s children from environmental exposures wherever they live, learn, and play. Children often are more vulnerable to pollutants than adults, because of differences in behavior and biology, which can lead to greater exposure or susceptibility as children’s bodies develop.

As we celebrate Children’s Environmental Health Month this October, EPA is focused especially on lowering childhood exposures to lead.  Lead can be found in all parts of our environment – air, soil, water, and even inside our homes. There are simple steps all parents can take to protect your children from exposure to lead, and EPA has helpful tips and advice for how to make your home lead safe.

For its part, EPA is also zeroing in on taking meaningful action on the federal level to help protect children from lead. Here in New England, in coordination with our state and local partners, EPA recently emailed important information about lead paint renovation requirements to schools and child care centers.  EPA also is working with water associations and public water utilities to conduct drinking water testing, maintain adequate treatment, identify lead pipes, and develop new tools for utility managers and local officials. Early next year, EPA New England will also host a New England “Get the Lead Out” Summit in Boston.

It’s important to remember, lead poisoning is preventable! Doctors and staff from Boston Children’s Hospital offer tips for parents and care givers for preventing childhood lead exposure including:

• Have children’s blood lead level tested by their physician at ages 9-12 months and again at ages 2, 3 and, in high risk areas, age 4; monitor children with developmental disorders into elementary school;

• Wash hands frequently, even between meals, leave shoes at the door, wash toys and other items mouthed by infants and young children, and wash paws of pets;

• Make sure children have adequate dietary sources of iron, calcium, vitamin, D, and magnesium.

Cities, towns and government organizations across New England are working to reduce childhood lead exposure.  EPA recently honored three particularly successful efforts with Children’s Health Environmental Merit Awards.

In Claremont, New Hampshire, Mayor Charlene Lovett made lead poisoning prevention and awareness a priority. She spearheaded a collaborative effort of healthcare professionals, the school superintendent, and local building, code, and health officials, to increase public awareness and testing rates, and reduce lead hazards in housing.

Many of the country’s most important advocates are parents, health care providers, educators, and everyday citizens who understand the critical relationship between the environment and children’s health. During Children’s Environmental Health Month and throughout the year, EPA will continue to focus on lowering children’s exposures to lead.  Parents and teachers can learn more useful tips to protect children from exposure to lead, and to ensure clean and safe homes for children to grow. https://www.epa.gov/lead/protect-your-family-exposures-lead

EPA partners with and provides funding to the New England Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) at Boston Children’s Hospital. This organization also provides good information about preventing childhood lead exposure.  http://www.childrenshospital.org/Centers-and-Services/Programs/O-_-Z/pediatric-environmental-health-center-program

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