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Obama Applauds EPA's Commitment to Write Long-Delayed Laws to Protect Kids from Lead Paint

Location: Washington, DC

Obama Applauds EPA's Commitment to Write Long-Delayed Laws to Protect Kids from Lead Paint

WASHINGTON - In a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) Monday said that he is pleased by EPA's commitment to write long-delayed regulations to protect children from dangerous lead paint exposure.

Renovation and repair of older residences is the principal source of lead-paint exposure to U.S. children. According to federal studies, a large majority of the approximately 20-30 million renovations done on older homes each year are done without lead-safe cleanup and contamination practices. Over 430,000 children in America have dangerously high levels of lead in their blood.

In 1992, Congress required the EPA to write regulations relating to the dispersal of lead paint by contractors during home remodeling by October, 1996. As of July 2005, these regulations still have not been written. In April, Administrator Johnson stated that to address the problem of lead paint poisoning, the EPA "will determine what additional steps may be necessary, including regulation" despite the fact that the 1992 law does not say the regulations are optional.

When asked about the status of these regulations before the EPW Committee two weeks ago, Deputy Administrator-designate Marcus Peacock stated: "As I understand it, the Agency will announce by the end of this year a comprehensive program, which will include a proposed regulation, as well as an extensive education and outreach campaign aimed at the renovation, repair, and painting industry and the consumer."

Obama also received a letter from Susan Hazen, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator, which said: "the Agency plans to announce by the end of this year, a comprehensive program that will include a proposed rule."

"In light of commitments I have received from Mr. Peacock and Ms. Hazen, I voted last Wednesday to confirm Mr. Peacock for the deputy administrator position," Obama wrote. "However, I want you to know that I will be closely monitoring EPA's actions regarding lead paint and will expect proposed rules to be issued by December 31, 2005."

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