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, 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

Report | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Wasting our Waterways 2012

Industrial facilities continue to dump millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s rivers, streams, lakes and ocean waters each year—threatening both the environment and human health. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pollution from industrial facilities is responsible for threat- ening or fouling water quality in more than 14,000 miles of rivers and streams, more than 220,000 acres of lakes, ponds and estuaries nationwide. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

10 Million Pounds of Toxic Chemicals Dumped into Pennsylvania’s Waterways

Industrial facilities dumped more than 10 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Pennsylvania’s waterways, making Pennsylvania’s waterways the seventh worst in the nation, according to a new report released today by PennEnvironment.

> Keep Reading
Headline

Western Pennsylvania industrial site near Allegheny River leaking for decades

For 40 years a toxic waste dump has sat on the banks of the Allegheny River, slowly leaking a mix as potent as pure ammonia. Now, environmental groups are preparing to file a federal lawsuit to force a cleanup.

> Keep Reading
Headline

Keep Pa. Growing Greener

Pennsylvania is fortunate to be full of priceless natural landscapes.

From the mountains of the Poconos, to the Susquehanna River, to the family farms of Amish farm country, and the historic green fields of Gettysburg — these are the types of places that make Pennsylvania great.

Knowing the incredible value of our state’s natural heritage, it’s shocking to know that elected officials in Harrisburg are on the verge of letting one of Pennsylvania’s most important conservation programs, known as Growing Greener, expire, putting many of these great places at risk.

> Keep Reading
News Release | PennEnvironment

Groups Urge River Basin Commission: “Don’t Drill the Delaware”

Today, groups representing residents of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware gathered to deliver a record-breaking number of public comments to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), urging them not to move ahead with gas drilling in the River Basin until such drilling is proven safe.

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed