Lead in schools’ water

Test results now show that lead is even contaminating drinking water in schools and preschools — flowing from thousands of fountains and faucets where our kids drink water every day.

girl at a water fountain
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Our children need safe drinking water — especially at school where they go to learn and play each day. Unfortunately, lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and preschools across the country. As our report shows, states are failing to make the grade when it comes to keeping lead out of drinking water at school. Instead of waiting for more testing, we need to proactively replace the fountains, faucets and other lead-bearing parts at the root of this toxic hazard for our children.


The science now makes clear that there is no safe level of lead exposure for our children. So, to ensure safe drinking water for our children, we need policies that are strong enough to “get the lead out” at schools and preschools.

States and communities should:

  • Proactively “get the lead out” of schools and child care centers by replacing fountains, faucets and other parts containing lead.
  • Install and maintain filters certified to remove lead on every faucet or fountain used for cooking and drinking.
  • Adopt a 1 part per billion (ppb) standard for lead in schools’ drinking water, consistent with recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Require testing at all water outlets used for drinking or cooking at all schools annually, using protocols designed to capture worst-case lead exposure for children.
  • Immediately remove from service any faucet or fountain used for drinking or cooking where testing indicates lead in the water.
  • Disclose all available information about lead in water infrastructure, test results and remediation plans/progress both onsite and online.
  • Provide funding to remove lead in schools’ water infrastructure.

The federal government should:

  • Enforce and strengthen federal rules to protect drinking water from lead — e.g. the Lead and Copper Rule.
  • Provide major funding to help states and communities remove lead in water infrastructure — including lead service lines and plumbing/fixtures in schools.
  • Marshal the authority of all relevant federal agencies to protect public health from contamination of drinking water. And of course, we should fully protect all sources of drinking water from pollution.
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