Over the past two years, the tragedy of Flint, Michigan has stunned the nation. We watched the drinking water of an entire city become contaminated with lead. And now we know this toxic threat extends well beyond Flint to communities across the country. In fact, test results now show that lead is even contaminating drinking water in schools and pre-schools — flowing from thousands of fountains and faucets where our kids drink water every day.

Lead is highly toxic, especially for children

A potent neurotoxin, lead affects how our children learn, grow, and behave. According to the EPA,"In children, low levels of [lead] exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells." In fact, medical researchers estimate that more than 24 million children in America will lose IQ points due to low levels of lead.

Lead in the drinking water at school 

Even the limited available data shows drinking water laced with lead at schools and early childhood programs across the country.

The threat of lead in schools’ water affects not only big cities but also suburban and rural communities. Tests have documented lead-tainted water in schools Cherry Hill, NJ, Bergen County, NJYarmouth, ME, and several other school districts in upstate New York, and suburban communities in Illinois.

Sometimes, the levels of lead are exceedingly high. For example, one drinking water fountain at a Montessori school in Cleveland had 1,560 parts per billion. A school in the Chicago suburbs had lead-water concentrations at 212 times the federal standard. Leicester Memorial Elementary in Massachusetts had a tap that tested at 22,400 ppb.

 

A pervasive threat to our children’s health

In all likelihood, these confirmed cases of lead in schools’ water are just the tip of the iceberg. Most schools have at least some lead in their pipes, plumbing, or fixtures. And where there is lead, there is risk of contamination. 

Massachusetts is one of the few states to test extensively and publish all results showing any level of lead in schools’ water. The results are shocking: nearly half of the tests (49.7 percent) conducted at Bay State schools so far have found some level of lead in the water, according to data published by the state as of January 6, 2017.  

Time to Get the Lead Out

Given these facts, the only way to ensure safe drinking water for our children is simply to “get the lead out” of our schools and pre-schools. This involves proactively removing lead-bearing parts from schools’ drinking water systems — from service lines to faucets and fixtures —and installing filters certified to remove lead at every tap used for drinking or cooking.

What you can do 

Contact your school and ask whether it has lead pipes or plumbing. Ask if the water has been tested for lead and to see all the results. Sometimes schools only report levels of lead in water above 15 parts per billion, but there is no safe level of lead in drinking water, especially for our children. 

In addition, we’re calling on all states to “get the lead out” of schools drinking water. Please urge your governor to take strong action to protect our children’s health. Take action. 

Clean Water Updates

News Release | Environment America

Statement: EPA faces Dirty Water Rule backlash at public hearing

In Kansas City, Kansas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold the first and only public hearing today for the Dirty Water Rule—the proposed replacement to the 2015 Clean Water Rule. This is an unprecedented assault on clean water, and Americans won’t stand for it. As EPA works to open our waters to polluters, today’s public backlash is well-deserved.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Statement: EPA commits to PFAS drinking water standards

Following pressure from lawmakers and groups such as Environment America, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed today to begin setting enforceable drinking water standards on two toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). We commend the EPA for listening to the community, incorporating critical feedback, and responding appropriately to protect our drinking water from PFAS contamination.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Statement: PFAS management plan falls short

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a “PFAS Management Plan” today that fails to establish drinking water standards for toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Clock starts on Dirty Water Rule 60-day comment period

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will publish its proposed replacement for the Clean Water Rule in the Federal Register on Feb. 14, initiating the 60-day public comment period. Considering the Dirty Water Rule would strip federal protections from thousands of waterways across the country, the EPA is giving Americans an astonishingly brief opportunity to speak out on the most sweeping attack on clean water in recent memory.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center

New report highlights how toxic “accidents waiting to happen” threaten U.S. waterways

Facilities storing billions of gallons of toxic waste threaten America’s rivers and millions of people who live near them, according to a new report from the Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center, CoPIRG Education Fund and the Frontier Group.

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed