Lead Poisoning Prevention Subcommittee to the Board of Scientific Counselors
Duties, Scope, Objectives, and Deliverables/Outcomes
Scientific literature indicates that children and adults continue to live in areas at high risk for lead exposure. Even lower lead levels are associated with measurable health effects. The examination of lead exposures should be broadened to include all age groups. Efforts to reduce and control lead poisoning nationwide should be continued.
Description of Duties
The 8- to10-member subcommittee will provide expertise on public health policies, practices and state-of-the-science relevant to lead poisoning prevention. The subcommittee will be comprised of experts in the fields of lead screening (including pediatric, older children and adult populations, in some cases); diagnosis, medical management and preventive medicine; environmental lead hazard detection, reduction and prevention; laboratory issues; surveillance, epidemiology and risk assessment; and occupational lead exposure. The subcommittee will review and comment on the growing understanding of how the frequency and duration of lead exposures affect health and cognitive outcomes.
The subcommittee will make recommendations to the Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) on ways to prioritize NCEH/ATSDR’s activities, improve health outcomes, and address health disparities. The subcommittee will provide guidance to help NCEH/ATSDR work more effectively with stakeholders in both private and public sectors (particularly state, local and tribal health departments) to continue to reduce lead poisoning cases. The subcommittee will review and regularly report on lead poisoning exposure assessments and prevention practices and recommend improvements in national lead poisoning prevention efforts.
The subcommittee will provide recommendations to NCEH/ATSDR through the BSC on how to strengthen NCEH/ATSDR’s programmatic activities and community services related to exposure assessment, prevention, and control of lead poisoning.
The BSC and NCEH/ATSDR program staff will propose, discuss and agree on potential nominees to the subcommittee. The final list of nominees will be forwarded to NCEH/ATSDR leadership for approval. Once appointed by NCEH/ATSDR, subcommittee members will be subject to ethics requirements in accordance with Federal Advisory Committee Act rules. Subcommittee members will serve two-year terms with the possibility of extending their terms for one to two years at the discretion of NCEH/ATSDR and the BSC.
In coordination with the Designated Federal Official, the BSC Chair will name a chair to the subcommittee. At least one BSC voting member will serve at all times on the subcommittee. The subcommittee will meet via teleconference at least twice annually. Following subcommittee approval, notes from these teleconferences will be generated and shared with the BSC at each of its semi-annual meetings. The subcommittee and BSC may recommend to NCEH/ATSDR that an in-person meeting occur. NCEH/ATSDR will notify the BSC and subcommittee whether resources are available to enable such a meeting.
The subcommittee will provide scientific expertise to the BSC to assist NCEH/ATSDR’s efforts to track, reduce and prevent lead poisoning nationwide. The subcommittee will respond to requests from the BSC and NCEH/ATSDR to provide advice and guidance regarding new scientific knowledge and technological developments. Topics may include, but are not limited to exposure evaluation, blood lead level prediction (e.g., modeling), and interventions for their practical implications for preventing lead poisoning. In addition, the subcommittee may also at times suggest topics to the BSC and NCEH/ATSDR for the subcommittee’s review and discussion. These suggestions will be subject to review and approval by the BSC.
To achieve these objectives, the subcommittee will, via the BSC, periodically propose new ideas, evaluate or comment on issues in the following areas:
1) Identify appropriate science and primary prevention strategies to control or eliminate sources of lead for at-risk children and adults in communities.
2) Provide expert advice and guidance related to improvement of follow-up services to children and adults exposed to lead, such as risk assessments and home inspections.
3) Provide input on exposure assessment science and practice.
4) Evaluate and recommend interventions and best practices that mitigate exposure to lead.
5) Propose recommendations for NCEH/ATSDR practice and roles to promote lead poisoning prevention.