In Davos, Samantha Power, the administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, will announce new steps to reduce lead exposure among children, including a $4 million investment in programs in countries like India and South Africa, according to an announcement shared first with Semafor.
Additionally, Power will announce that USAID is joining the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, a joint initiative from the World Health Organization and United Nations that advocates for lead paint laws. Other U.S. government agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency, are members of the group, but USAID says it will be the first bilateral development agency to join.
Power will make the announcement Wednesday during an appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where she is leading a discussion on the threat of lead poisoning with government officials from Georgia and Tanzania and a representative from McKinsey’s global health institute.
According to USAID, Power will use her appearance to push for more resources to combat lead poisoning globally, encouraging countries to provide more support to poorer countries in implementing legally binding regulations on lead in paint and other consumer products. She will also pledge to use USAID’s missions, spanning over 80 countries, to advocate for more controls.
Lead poisoning is linked to serious health problems. One study released last year estimated that 5.5 million adults worldwide died from heart disease in 2019 caused by lead exposure, while other estimates have placed the annual death toll somewhere near 1 million.
Power is among a handful of Biden administration officials who descended on Davos this week to have meetings on Russia’s war in Ukraine and other global challenges. Other representatives include Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.