Friday, July 19, 2013

New Budget Bill Will Reduce Funding of Lead Poisoning Prevention

New House BIll Will Reduce Spending for Lead Poisoning Prevention
House of Representatives
This past March, the House passed a bill proposed by Republican House Representative Paul Ryan. The bill proposed a cut of overall domestic spending, and as the House writes bills for the upcoming fiscal year, they are cutting programs and changing the allocation of their spending. The House plans to shift spending to defense programs, and with these budget cuts, they are cutting programs that fund lead poisoning prevention.

Exposure to lead has severe health risks in children and adults. Children exposed to even very low levels of lead can experience drops in average intelligence and social and behavioral problems. Adults exposed to lead have been found to have higher blood pressure and seizures. Lead poisoning has even been found to lead to criminal behavior. Due to these health and educational risks associated with lead, it is estimated that lead exposure costs the world $977 in GDP a year.

Lead paint was banned in 1978, but many homes still suffer from lead paint hazards. Budget cuts would be detrimental to important lead removal programs. Republicans plan to balance the budget with this bill and create a "healthier economy and help create jobs," yet the health risks associated with lead poisoning may lead to costly effects in the long run. According to a National Institute of Health study, "For every dollar spent on controlling lead hazards, $17–$221 would be returned in health benefits, increased IQ, higher lifetime earnings, tax revenue, reduced spending on special education, and reduced criminal activity.” This means that if Congress were to cut $6 million from lead poisoning prevention programs, it would cost society $102 million to over $1 billion.

These cuts would severely affect lower-income Americans, as the homes they live in often still have lead paint. It is estimated that despite the ban in 1978, about 3/4 of homes still contain this hazardous substance. Additionally, the budget bill will cut community development and housing spending. These cuts prevent new transportation systems from being constructed and from affordable homes from being built.

Republicans Plan to Reduce Spending and Promote Department of Defense

The House plans on supporting the Department of Defense with these new budget cuts. The consequences of their actions will have detrimental effects on the health of both children and adults nationwide. The Senate has proposed a contrasting plan, with full replacement of budget cuts for lead poisoning programs. The Senate proposal has received bipartisan support. In September, the House and the Senate will pass new budget bills for the upcoming fiscal year. Congress and the President will have the power to promote the health and education of our future if they take into consideration the serious, persistent risk of lead poisoning. 

The EPA requires certification to work with or remove lead paint. Register for a course with GreenEDU and become certified!

Green Education Services is one of the leading training providers for the EPA's Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule, which targets pre-1978 residential homes and requires companies and their workers to be certified to work safely with lead-based paint that may be present in the home. You can follow this link to all of our EPA Lead Renovators courses around the country, and do your part to combat this epidemic.