AMSA Applauds White House for Key Steps Towards Equitable Health and Housing

December 23, 2021

Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan

AMSA applauds President Biden and Vice President Harris for their commitment to remove lead from American homes.

For over 35 years, Congress has not changed or updated the Safe Drinking Water Act to protect Americans from lead. On Tuesday, December 14, President Biden and Vice President Harris fixed that; laying out a plan to modernize American infrastructure by actively removing lead from pipes and paint in our homes.

The Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan has three key strategies. It commits billions of dollars and technical resources to communities to remove lead, strengthen current regulations to ensure equitable protection and access to low income communities, and reduce exposure with increased surveillance and update current strategies to combat environmental health hazards. Over ten federal agencies will coordinate to make this happen. Here are some key action items on the docket:

  • Allocate $3 billion in funding to local communities and allows $350 billion from the American Rescue Plan to be used for lead service line and fixture replacement
  • Make lead pipe and paint investments publicly available to disadvantaged communities
  • Establish regional technical assistance hubs to partner with labor unions and water agencies, creating union paying jobs while training community members to serve their community
  • Close gaps in lead testing by increasing blood level surveillance and tracking trends and guide federal investments

For too long, millions of households every year have been exposed to lead and have serious health problems as a result, especially in children. Standard of care in pediatrics is to test for lead at one and two year well-checks, this rudimentary testing is playing catchup for not upgrading local infrastructure appropriately. Lead poisoning is an illness that is difficult to treat, especially because these patients are often re-exposed as soon as we send them home. AMSA supports this initiative to remove all lead pipes and paint over the next decade that will be revolutionary for the health and safety of our patients. This plan addresses the social determinants of health that affect our patients everyday.

Furthermore, we commend the strategy to accomplish this goal through partnerships with labor unions and local water agencies to create training opportunities and good paying jobs, further benefiting our underserved communities. We believe this new initiative will take an important step towards delivering equitable health outcomes throughout our country which is our central mission as future physicians.

At AMSA we believe everyone has a right to live in their own home without fear of lead exposure and applaud the Biden Administration for their commitment to improving the health of all Americans.

If you would like more information see the White House Press Release here.