EPA Region 7 Grantee Seeks to Decrease Children’s Exposure to Lead and Pesticides in Vulnerable St. Louis Communities


LENEXA, KAN. (FEB. 28, 2024) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 has awarded Children’s Mercy Region 7 Director of the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit Dr. Elizabeth Friedman a one-year, $40,000 cooperative agreement grant to conduct outreach and education on children’s lead and pesticide safety and exposure risk reduction to child care providers in St. Louis, Missouri.

“EPA Region 7 is committed to continuing its efforts to reduce children’s exposure from all sources of lead and pesticides,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “This grant exemplifies our commitment to reducing sources of lead and pesticide exposure across the region and in historically underserved and overburdened communities.”

The Children’s Mercy project, “Lead and Pesticide Safety Outreach to In-Home Early Child Care Centers,” seeks to:

  • Deliver outreach and education on children’s lead and pesticide safety and exposure risk reduction to day care providers.
  • Establish a series of digital pesticide safety messages to micro‐targeted groups and outlets within the community, resulting in reduced use and better handling of pesticide products.
  • Decrease the exposure of children to lead and pesticides at child care centers.
  • Increase the awareness of the health impacts of elevated blood lead levels in children and the availability of free testing through the St. Louis City Program, and in‐home lead assessments and water testing through the St. Louis County Program.
  • Encourage best practices, including the use of lead renovation, repair, and painting (RRP)-certified contractors for remediation.

Dr. Friedman is the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit’s (PEHSU’s) co-director of the Mid-America Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unity (MAPEHSU). Children’s Mercy Hospital provides comprehensive, pediatric environmental health services through MAPEHSU, which is one of 10 PEHSUs in the nation.

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