Reed On Preventing Lead Poisoning, Improving Infrastructure

May 23, 2016

Reed joined lead poisoning prevention experts and advocates at the state Dept. of Environmental Management.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) met with leaders working to prevent lead poisoning today in Providence. Reed is pushing legislation to better regulate toxic chemicals like lead.

The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 hasn’t been updated in 40 years. It’s the law that regulates harmful chemicals, including lead. And  Reed says an update is in the works. But congressional negotiations over the bill remain contentious.

“So we have we think an adequate compromise on the Senate side, not yet on the House side," said Reed. "We’re still working toward it. And we want to improve the regulation of toxic chemicals in the country.”

Reed says the bill could help mitigate lead poisoning in concert with another measure to improve water infrastructure. That bill, the TRUE LEADership Act, would invest $70 billion dollars in water and other  infrastructure through a combination of grants and loans. It too is stalled in Congress. 

Lead water pipes and lead paint in old homes are two of the biggest sources of lead poisoning in children. 

Lead poisoning rates have declined over the years in Rhode Island children, according to data from Rhode Island Kids Count.