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Trump Wants to Ax Programs To Protect Children From Lead Poisoning That Cost Taxpayers Less Than His Trips to Florida, Kids’ Business Travel

Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
alex@ewg.org
For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

WASHINGTON – President Trump's plan to cut funding that helps states protect children from lead poisoning would save less money than the cost of his trips to Florida. It’s a callous proposal that again shows the administration's disregard for children's health, said EWG President Ken Cook.

Budget documents obtained by The Washington Post reveal that Trump is pushing to cut $16.6 million and at least 70 staff from two Environmental Protection Agency programs, which would include eliminating more than $14 million in grants to help states eradicate lead-based paint hazards in housing built before 1978. The other EPA program Trump is targeting requires professional home renovators to undergo training on how to safely abate lead-based paint.

At even the lowest levels, lead exposure in children can cause debilitating and life-long damage, including lower IQs and behavioral problems. News of the proposed cuts to lead programs comes less that week after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt ignored his own agency's science and overturned a scheduled ban of another chemical that harm kids’ brains, the agricultural pesticide chlorpyrifos.

“The price tag to help states protect children from lead exposure is less than taxpayers have already spent paying for President Trump’s golf weekends at Mar-a-Lago,” said Cook. “The president and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt – who notoriously didn't know if taking lead out of gas was a good idea – have demonstrated again their callous disregard for children’s environmental health."

Reports estimate the president’s six trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort, including an upcoming visit this week, cost taxpayers at least $20 million – roughly $4 million more than the cost of EPA’s lead-based paint programs. The president’s children have also racked up a considerable tab to taxpayers for foreign trips to promote Trump business interests.

"In the wake of the crisis in Flint, Mich., states and cities across the country are searching for resources to combat lead poisoning in children," said Cook. "I guess the news about Flint and the revelations that have followed about lead contamination nationwide haven't reached the golf links in Mar-a-Lago."