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Ghosts, ghouls and vampires can’t hold a candle to lead—a neurotoxin with the power to wreck children’s futures.

As orange leaves and chilly winds herald the arrival of Halloween, kids across the nation prepare for the big day by assembling their spookiest costumes. But amid the ghosts, ghouls and vampires, an even scarier monster may go unmentioned—toxic lead, lurking in old pipes, flaking house paint, face paint, hair dye, aviation fuel and even car wheel weights.

Two identical photos of Mount Trumbull in Grand Canyon National Park demonstrating the change in air quality due to regional haze pollution.

I was thinking about the upcoming oral arguments scheduled for November 18 in the Navajo Generating Station coal plant case when I saw a news report that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy bragged about how the agency had cleaned up haze pollution in Shenandoah National Park. It struck me as ironic that the EPA should claim this particular mission-accomplished status a scant month before court arguments on the Navajo Generating Station.

It’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, and Earthjustice is partnering with community groups to fight for just and protective EPA standards for lead in the dust and paint in our homes.

If a lead inspector came to your house and told you that your house paint was not lead-based and that your house dust isn’t a lead hazard, you’d think you and your family were definitely safe from exposure to lead in your home, right? 

Well, you’d be wrong.

That’s because of a couple lines of text in outdated U.S. EPA regulations that define what constitutes a “dust-lead hazard” and what qualifies as “lead-based paint.” In both cases, the EPA’s standards fall far short of protecting human health.  

The updated chemical safety law has the potential to make Americans a whole lot safer.

[Editor’s note: Recently, the EPA announced that it will move quickly to evaluate five persistent, bio accumulative and toxic chemicals under the updated chemical safety law, known as the Toxic Substances Control Act, which mandates that the agency review existing chemicals under specific deadlines. Under the old law, only five of 62,000-plus chemicals on the market have been banned since 1976.]

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About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.