Achieving Equity in Lead Poisoning Prevention Policy Making

Achieving Equity in Lead Poisoning Prevention Policy Making

Lead poisoning prevention advocates and policy makers need to take equity into consideration when addressing the consequences of lead poisoning for people of color and low-income communities, a report from Human Impact Partners finds. Funded by the Joyce and Kresge foundations, the report, Achieving Equity in Lead Poisoning Prevention Policy Making (71 pages, PDF), highlights discussions from a convening of lead exposure and prevention experts about equity impacts in the areas of residential lead service line replacement, lead testing in water at schools and licensed childcare facilities, and testing and remediation of lead-based paint hazards in housing. According to the report, poor community engagement by government agencies exacerbates inequities and mistrust, while a patchwork of laws, regulations, and financing frameworks reduces the effectiveness of programs, dissipates resources, and places communities at risk. The report also found that the cost of implementing policies further burdens communities that are struggling financially, while families of color often are blamed for their exposure and unfairly stigmatized by stereotypes. Recommendations for addressing the equity impacts include prioritizing community engagement and needs in decision making; implementing a holistic lead remediation framework that addresses multiple sources of lead simultaneously and employs permanent remediation methods; launching a national public awareness campaign; and focusing funding on remediation and prevention programs in communities that most need funding.