Statement: Bill protecting children from lead passing in State House is a good first step

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Lead in drinking water must still be addressed

Environment Georgia

ATLANTA – The Georgia House of Representatives passed HB 1355: Childhood Lead Exposure Control Act Thursday. The bill, which outlines revisions to lead exposure control, lays out key lead prevention provisions. These include lowering allowable blood lead level limits; instituting abatement plans for educational facilities; and developing specific abatement procedures that ensure awareness of lead poisoning hazards found on such common places as painted surfaces, soil and playground materials. 

Despite those promising elements, the bill omits one very important exposure source: drinking water. Twenty percent of our lead exposure comes from our drinking water, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. 

There is no safe level of lead in drinking water. Lead is a potent neurotoxin that affects the brain development of young children. Effects of lead exposure include damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, lower IQ, learning disabilities, anemia and ADHD. 

Environment Georgia’s Get the Lead Out toolkit provides key details on how communities can address this problem. 

Environment Georgia Clean Water Associate Jennifer Duenas released the following statement: 

“We celebrate HB1355 as the bill makes great strides towards protecting children from lead poisoning. However, the bill  fails to address drinking water as a lead exposure hazard. We must continue to advocate for safe drinking water, especially in our schools. Our children shouldn’t be faced with this great danger anywhere but especially where they learn, play and spend most of their time. Our legislature must take the next steps to ensure this problem is solved.

“But until then, local school boards must work to prevent this type of lead contamination by registering for free testing through the Clean Water for Georgia Kids program and installing filtered hydration stations. To make this happen we call on parents and concerned Georgians to call on school district leaders and let them know it is time to get the lead out of the water in our schools.“ 

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