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Washington, D.C. (May 2, 2024) – Following President Biden’s announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will invest more than $3 Billion to replace lead pipes and address other household health hazards, Jennifer Doleac, executive vice president of criminal justice at Arnold Ventures, issued this statement:

We commend the Biden Administration for this effort, as strong evidence shows that children’s exposure to lead contributes to an increased risk of criminal behavior and arrests later in life. We urge that the Administration pair this increased funding with robust data collection and accountability to ensure that these actions yield positive results. 

In addition to directly affecting parts of the brain related to self-control, lead poisoning has been shown to often reduce a child’s educational attainment, which in turn can lead to increased criminal activity. 

While the results are not immediate, reducing kids’ exposure to lead is potentially one of the most important and impactful public safety policies that governments can enact. It also can have a dramatic impact on racial and economic equity, since childhood lead exposure is concentrated in Black and brown communities and lower income areas.” 

In addition to ensuring that all Americans have access to safe, clean water, this is an evidence-based, smart-on-crime investment that will enhance public safety and reduce incarceration in future years.” 

Arnold Ventures is a philanthropy dedicated to tackling some of the most pressing problems in the United States. It is a team of more than 120 subject-matter experts headquartered in Houston with offices in New York and Washington, D.C. It works in five key issue areas: Criminal Justice, Education, Health, Infrastructure, and Public Finance. Its work is guided by Evidence-Based Policy, Research, and Advocacy.