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Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

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October 03, 2023

Proposed Regulations Could Reduce Adverse Health Effects in Low-Income Communities

 Chicago Attorney General Kwame Raoul today led a coalition of 13 attorneys general supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to strengthen dust-lead hazard standards and post-abatement clearance levels, as authorized by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

 In a comment letter, Raoul and the coalition strongly support the EPA’s efforts to strengthen its dust-lead hazard standards and clearance levels, two important regulations that help protect the public against dangerous dust-lead and lead paint exposures. These stronger regulations are especially important for environmental justice communities, such as low-income communities and communities of color, that currently bear a disproportionate burden from exposure to lead.

“The EPA should quickly adopt its proposal to protect communities in Illinois, and across the nation, from dangerous lead exposure while addressing long-standing dust-lead inequities,” Raoul said. “This is particularly important in our environmental justice communities that experience disproportionate rates of lead exposure, which creates serious health risks.”

The letter explains the EPA’s proposed regulations recognize the scientific studies showing that there is no safe level of lead exposure and, if adopted, will reduce the associated adverse health effects. Even very low levels of lead exposure can lead to serious health effects. For example, lead exposure is associated with delayed growth and lower academic performance in young children.

In the letter, Raoul and the attorneys general highlight a recent lead surveillance report from the Illinois Department of Public Health that shows Illinois children in high-risk zip codes are twice as likely to have elevated blood-lead levels compared to children in low-risk zip codes. More specifically, the letter explains that Black or African American children in Illinois are also disproportionately affected by lead exposure, suffering from higher blood-lead levels than any other tested race group in Illinois.

Raoul and the coalition also urge the EPA to address lead in soil and how lead paint is defined, which is essential to holistically reducing health impacts of lead exposure.

Joining Raoul in sending the letter are attorneys general of California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.