Environment Missouri testifies in favor of the Get the Lead Out Act

Environment Missouri testifies in favor of the Get the Lead Out Act.

View of the Missouri River
Photo by Devon Schreiner via pexels
Bridget Sanderson

Former State Director, Environment Missouri

Thank you Chairman and members of the committee for letting me speak today. 

My name is Bridget Sanderson and I am the director of Environment Missouri, a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization, that works in partnership with the filter first coalition. I am here today to speak on behalf of our members across the state of Missouri in support of this bill. 

The crisis that unfolded in Flint, Michigan in 2014 was the tip of the iceberg in reminding us that lead is a dangerous neurotoxin and we have an aging infrastructure that is not protecting us from drinking lead-laden water. 

Health experts tell us there is no safe level of lead for any Missourian, but especially in some of our most vulnerable population, Missouri’s children. 

According to the experts, “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.” Medical experts estimate that 24 million children are at risk of losing IQ points due to low levels of lead exposure.

Missouri’s children need clean drinking water, especially where they spend most of their time playing and learning. Unfortunately, lead is contaminating our children’s drinking sources at schools and daycare centers. 

And yes, our children are exposed to this lead-tainted water. Over the past few years, more and more schools have started to test their drinking water. And as more schools test, instead of turning a blind eye to this problem, they are finding lead in their school’s drinking water. 

The problem stems from antiquated infrastructure in the pipes, plumbing, faucets, and fixtures that contain lead. In order to protect our children’s clean drinking water, we must place filters and test all water fixtures for the presence of lead. After that, we must remove any infrastructure that results in lead getting into our drinking water.

This bill addresses many of the issues we need to address in order to protect our children’s health. I would like to thank the bill sponsor for not only introducing this bill but including, the designation of remediation to 1 ppb, testing water sources, filtering sources, and remediation. 

Over the course of nearly a century, we allowed key parts in our drinking water delivery systems to be built with a potent neurotoxin that affects how our children learn, grow and behave. As a result, we now have a national epidemic of lead-contaminated drinking water – from urban neighborhoods to the suburbs to rural Missouri. 

It will take an unprecedented commitment to undo this mistake and get the lead out of our drinking water. With federal funding designated for improving schools’ safe drinking water, Missouri can be a leader in advancing lead-free drinking water. We are the Show-Me State and to end on a quote from President Harry S. Truman “Keep working on a plan. Make no little plans. Make the biggest one you can think of, and spend the rest of your life carrying it out.” Let’s make lead-free drinking water one of the biggest plans in Missouri. Thank you


Bridget Sanderson

Former State Director, Environment Missouri

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