News Briefs: EPA Releases Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures in Communities

Also in this week's sewer and water news, the NOAA and partners release a new handbook for national climate resilience

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released its Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities in conjunction with National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. 

This first-ever, agency-wide lead strategy outlines how the EPA will use its authorities, expertise and resources to reduce lead exposure in communities overburdened by pollution.

“The evidence is clear. Children exposed to lead are more likely to face adverse health impacts and other serious challenges throughout life — from slowed growth and development to learning and behavioral disabilities,” says EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “Combined with the historic investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this strategy will accelerate our efforts to identify lead exposures early on and eliminate racial and socioeconomic disparities in blood-lead levels by connecting communities with resources that can reduce lead exposure.”

EPA’s multifaceted Lead Strategy aims to reduce community exposures to lead sources; identify communities with high lead exposures and improve their health outcomes; improve engagement with communities and stakeholders; and support critical research to inform efforts to reduce lead exposures and related health risks.

NOAA Issues New Guidebooks for Climate Resilience and Adaptation

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and partners recently released “Implementing the Steps to Resilience: A Practitioner's Guide,” a handbook for national climate resilience. The resource is designed to help climate adaptation practitioners work with local governments and community organizations to incorporate climate risk and equity into their long-term decision-making.  

With this user-friendly guide, resilience and adaptation professionals can add a significant new resource to their toolbox to implement the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit’s Steps to Resilience.

“This guide is a critical step towards scaling up resilience in every U.S. community,” says NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad. “Building a climate-ready nation means training a large national workforce of adaptation and resilience practitioners.” 

Safe Drinking Water Requires Strong Government Investment, Say International Agencies

Governments must invest strategically in building safe drinking water systems by not only increasing funding, but also strengthening capacities to plan, coordinate and regulate service provision if the world is to achieve universal access to safe drinking water and mitigate the effects of climate change, say WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank in a recently released report.

The State of the World’s Drinking Water report notes that over 2 billion people have gained access to safe drinking water in the past two decades. This progress, while positive, is fragile and inequitable with one-quarter of the world’s population left behind. Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of droughts and floods, which exacerbate water insecurity, disrupt supplies and devastate communities, according to the agencies. Meanwhile rapid urbanization is increasing the strain on cities’ capacity to deliver water to the millions of people living in in-formal communities and slums.

“Providing greater access to safe drinking water has saved many lives, most of them children. But climate change is eating into those achievements,” says Maria Neira, director of WHO’s Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health. “We have to accelerate our efforts to ensure every person has reliable access to safe drinking water — something that is a human right, not a luxury.”

The report provides a comprehensive review of the links between water, health and development, with actionable recommendations for governments and partners, illustrated by examples of how countries are contributing to the attainment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal target of reaching safely managed drinking water for all by 2030.


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