Stalling EPA Ordered to Update Lead Paint Rules

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that American citizens’ best approach for saving the environment is to take the government to court. On Thursday, activists scored another amazing victory: the Environmental Protection Agency is obligated to create new lead paint safety rules – and pronto!

Despite a wealth of evidence to demonstrate that lead paint poses serious health risks, the EPA has been ignoring calls to improve regulations, insisting it needed at least six more years of research before taking action. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals essentially laughed off this request, giving the agency just 90 days to cough up some solutions instead.

Talk about instituting a much more efficient timetable. EPA director Scott Pruitt’s go-to move this year has been to try to stall, saying more time and research is needed before burdening corporations with regulations, as was the case with chlorpyrifos, a known dangerous pesticide. Ironically and frustratingly, these excuses came at the same time Pruitt argued against using research in policy decisions.

The existing findings pertaining to lead paint are so strong that there’s no need for another year of delay for research, let alone six. There is an overwhelming correlation between kids exposed to even trace amounts of lead and significant cognitive decline.

The court’s ruling was crystal clear, reading: “[The] EPA itself has acknowledged that ‘lead poisoning is the number one environmental health threat in the U.S. for children ages 6 and younger. We must observe that EPA has already taken eight years, wants to delay at least six more, and has disavowed any interest in working with petitioners to develop an appropriate timeline through mediation.”

Although there’s no doubt that Pruitt is an anti-environment super-villain, it’d be a mistake to focus all of the blame on the Trump administration. While the EPA under Barack Obama conceded that lead paint was a massive problem in 2011, it failed to take any steps to improve the situation in the ensuing years.

Scientists and health advocates are now confident that it takes fractions of the amount of lead exposure to do damage to people – particularly kids – then previously understood. As such, the rules, which haven’t been updated at all since 2001, are woefully inadequate, and that’s why health groups decided it was long past time to take the EPA to court.

New York Magazine contends that updating the standards on lead paint is worth it however you shake it. According to one study, for every dollar spent on lead paint control, the country makes somewhere between $17 and $221 in subsequent economic benefits/health care savings.

In summation, there’s been no good reason for the EPA – under Donald Trump and Obama alike – to fail to take action on this issue. It’s discouraging that it had to go to court to finally get put on the EPA’s agenda, but better late than never!

Photo credit: Thinkstock

48 comments

Peggy B
Peggy B10 days ago

nOTED

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Paulo R
Paulo R13 days ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R13 days ago

ty

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Mike R
Mike R13 days ago

Thanks

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Lesa D
Lesa D14 days ago

thank you Ninth Circuit!!! RESIST Pruitt...

thank you Kevin...

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Jessica C
Jessica C16 days ago

thx

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Paulo R
Paulo R17 days ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R17 days ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R17 days ago

ty

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sandy Gardner
sandy Gardner19 days ago

I read a story about a poor family who lived in a house with lead paint on the floor of a porch. The children ate chips of paint when they were hungry. Of course disaster ensued.

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