Scientific research shows there is no safe level of lead exposure for children, yet millions of families in the U.S. still encounter lead every day through water pipes, paint dust, and soil. Now two lawsuits by Earthjustice and our partners — one of which we recently won — are pushing the federal government to reconsider flawed lead rules and adequately protect communities. Read on to learn more about these cases and urge the Biden administration to take action.
Why is lead dangerous?
What is Earthjustice doing to protect people from lead in their drinking water?
- As many as 22 million people in the U.S. drink water that passes through lead pipes . In many places, that lead leaches into the water, as it did in Flint, Michigan.
- In January 2021, the Trump administration revised the Lead and Copper Rule, which regulates lead in drinking water — but they made it even less protective, dramatically decreasing the rate at which lead pipes must be replaced.
- Earthjustice took the administration to court over the insufficient rule.
- In March, the Biden administration took a positive step by delaying the new rule to comprehensively assess it. Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now seeking input on the rule from impacted communities.
What is Earthjustice doing to protect people from lead in their homes and childcare facilities?
- One of the most common causes of lead poisoning in children is the ingestion of lead in dust or soil from deteriorating paint. Lead poisoning currently affects about half a million kids in the U.S.
- In 2017, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gave Earthjustice and our partners a major victory when it ruled that the EPA acted illegally by failing to ensure that its lead standards are protective based on the current scientific understanding that there is no safe level of lead, and ordered the EPA to update its standards.
- As a result, in 2019, the Trump administration tightened its standard for lead in dust, but that standard still left a large proportion of children at risk of lead poisoning, and the administration failed to update its standard for lead in soil or paint.
- Earthjustice sued the EPA over the 2019 rule for failing to protect people from lead exposure in older housing, schools, and daycares.
- In May 2021, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with us, ordering the EPA to reconsider the standard for lead in dust. The court also told the EPA it must update its standard for lead in soil and its definition of what qualifies as lead paint.
How can I help?
The Biden administration is collecting input on the best way to keep communities safe from lead in drinking water. In addition, it is under a court order to reconsider and revise its lead standards for dust, soil and paint.
Tell the administration that we need bold solutions now.