EPA, Black Mayors team up to save Delta kids from lead

The  Environmental Protection Agency has reached a competitive cooperative agreement with the Mississippi Conference of Black Mayors to reduce lead exposure and mitigate the negative impacts of old, inadequate houses for low-income, minority families and children throughout the Delta. The agreement is one of 12 EPA has reached with community-based organizations nationwide, totaling about $1.4 million in funding, under this initiative. 

The conference will create a network of black mayors, health care providers and community members to educate the people of the Delta about the harmful effects of lead exposure, where lead is likely to be found in their homes and ways to prevent exposure, according to an EPA news release.

They also will develop a Lead Contamination Action Plan to identify the homes that have significant exposures, work with area health care facilities to test children’s toys and clothing for lead residue, and develop and implement lead abatement measures.

“These cooperative agreements empower communities to implement environmental protection projects locally,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “With these agreements, EPA advances our commitment to communities by providing financial and technical assistance to take action against environmental harm.”

This year’s recipients are awarded up to $120,000 to support two-year projects, including identifying and reducing sources of air pollution, reducing lead exposure in homes of low-income residents, and the cleanup and repurposing of community dump sites. Projects must use the Collaborative Problem Solving model, comprised of seven elements of a successful collaborative partnership, to address local environmental and/or public health issues.