Over 23 million homes in America have significant lead paint hazards and more than 200,000 children have unsafe levels of lead in their blood. Lead poisoning causes significant decreases in math and reading scores and a host of other health problems, all of which are preventable.
The urgent need for homes that support good health has never been clearer: the COVID-19 pandemic has meant more time in our residences, bringing healthy housing to the fore as a national priority. Inadequate housing conditions—such as exposure to lead paint, radon, mold and moisture, pest infestations, structural instability, and fire hazards—cause or exacerbate asthma, allergies, poisonings, falls and injuries, cancer, cardiovascular problems and other preventable illnesses. They needlessly burden our hospitals, schools, communities, and housing finance institutions, exacerbating the housing affordability crisis. Sustainable healthy housing is essential to economic vitality, climate change mitigation, and children’s futures.
This Executive Order establishes a cabinet-level Presidential Task Force on Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Housing to coordinate the nation’s response to lead paint and other housing-related diseases and injuries under the Biden administration. Led by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, this Task Force will recommend new strategies, regulations, incentives and other actions that promise to conquer these avoidable problems. With strategic leadership and concerted action, the Task Force can eliminate childhood lead poisoning as a major public health problem and ensure that all American families have healthy homes.