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EPA Meets with Oneida Nation to Discuss Important Step to Further Protect Children from Exposure to Lead-Contaminated Dust

Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (
312 886 7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 19-OPA046

CHICAGO (June 21, 2019) – This week U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 met with Oneida Nation leaders and health experts and Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich in Oneida, Wisconsin to discuss a new rule to update lead safety requirements for pre-1978 homes and child-occupied facilities. Earlier today, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced new, tighter standards for lead in dust on floors and window sills to protect children from the harmful effects of lead exposure.

“EPA is delivering on our commitment in the Trump Administration’s Federal Lead Action Plan to take important steps to reduce childhood lead exposure,” said Administrator Wheeler. “Today’s final rule is the first time in nearly two decades EPA is issuing a stronger, more protective standard for lead dust in homes and child care facilities across the country.”

“With these new lead dust regulations, children will be less exposed to the harmful effects of indoor lead exposure,” said Kurt Thiede, Chief of Staff, EPA Region 5. “Lead from deteriorated lead-based paint - typically found in older housing stock - is the most prevalent lead exposure pathway for children.”

Thiede was joined at yesterday’s roundtable by Jeff Mears, Oneida Nation’s Director of Environmental Development and several Oneida Nation representatives including: Eric Krawczyk, Public Health Officer; Char Kizior, RN; Troy Parr, Director of Economic Development; Jennifer Webster, Oneida Councilwoman, and Mayor Genrich.   

“The Oneida Nation has a vision of sustaining strong families and partnering with EPA to host the Lead Awareness in Indian Country: Keeping or Children Healthy!  This will bring awareness of lead dangers and provide strategies to reduce the risk,” said Director Mears. “On July 9 – 10 a pilot training will be held to get feedback from environmental and public health professionals on the lead awareness curriculum.  After comments and improvements to the class are complete, the next step is to make the training available to Tribes across the country.”  

Since the 1970s, the United States has made tremendous progress in lowering children’s blood lead levels. In 2001, EPA set standards for lead in dust for floors and window sills in housing, however since that time, the best available science has evolved to indicate human health effects at lower blood lead levels than previously analyzed.

To protect children’s health and to continue making progress on this important issue, EPA is lowering the dust-lead hazard standards from 40 micrograms of lead per square foot (µg/ft2) to 10 µg/ft2 on floors and from 250 µg/ft2 to 100 µg/ft2 on window sills. The more protective dust-lead hazard standards will apply to inspections, risk assessments, and abatement activities in pre-1978 housing and certain schools, child care facilities and hospitals across the country.

Lead-contaminated dust from chipped or peeling lead-based paint is one of the most common causes of elevated blood lead levels in children. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure because they their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. They can be exposed from multiple sources and may experience irreversible and life-long health effects. Lead dust can be generated when lead-based paint deteriorates or is disturbed.

The rule will become effective 180 days after publication in the Federal Register.

A link to this final rule and to learn more:

Learn more about the lead-based paint program:


Reducing childhood lead exposure and addressing associated health impacts is a top priority for EPA. In December 2018 EPA Administrator Wheeler and other Federal Officials produced the Lead Action Plan, a blueprint for reducing lead exposure and associated harms by working with a range of stakeholders, including states, tribes and local communities, along with businesses, property owners and parents.

EPA continues to work with its federal partners to improve coordinated activities and implement objectives of the Lead Action Plan.