It’s Time to Get the Lead out of School Drinking Water

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Environment Connecticut Research & Policy Center

 Hartford – A national analysis released by Environment Connecticut Research & Policy Center gave Connecticut a grade of “F” for failing to prevent children’s drinking water from becoming laced with lead at school. The group called for action to ensure lead-free water in Connecticut’s schools.

“Schools should be safe places for our kids to learn and play, but state is failing/not doing enough to protect our kids from lead in drinking water said Chris Phelps, Environment Connecticut State Director. “Kids’ developing brains are especially susceptible to highly toxic lead so it’s time to get the lead out.”

The new report released by Environment Connecticut Research and Policy Center shows that confirmed cases of lead-laced water are likely just the tip of the iceberg.  For example, the report cites new data from neighboring Massachusetts, where half of more than 40,000 tests conducted last year showed some level of lead in water from taps at school.

Lead is a potent neurotoxin, affecting the way our kids learn, grow, and behave. There is no safe level of lead exposure for children. However, all too often, schools, and other buildings, have pipes, plumbing and/or fixtures that leach lead into drinking water.   In some cases, old service lines – the pipes that brings water from the mains in the street into buildings – are made entirely of lead. 

Unfortunately, current state laws do far too little to prevent children’s drinking water from becoming laced with lead at school. The report authors found that CT is one of a number of states minimal, or no, requirements for action to remove lead from school water systems even when lead is detected.  In the comparison of 16 states, these shortcomings gave Connecticut a grade of “F.”

“We were disappointed to find that Connecticut’s efforts are at the back of the class for protecting children from lead at school.  Our kids deserve better.” Said Phelps.

The report authors identified a number of specific policy recommendations for states to mitigate the problem and get lead out of school’s water. These include removing lead service lines, requiring filters certified to remove lead on every tap used for drinking and cooking, allowing no more than 1 part per billion of lead in water schools, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Environment Connecticut is dedicated to protecting our water, air and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives.