Legislators in Missouri and Colorado have just approved bills requiring remediation when lead in schools’ drinking water exceeds 5 parts per billion (ppb). The new limits are a step in the right direction, and they come on the wake of our updated map showing widespread lead contamination of schools’ water across the country.
Yet stronger action will be needed to ensure safe drinking water for our kids. Lead can harm children at very low levels, and lead concentrations in water can vary, and so these “test and remediate” policies are likely to leave many sources of contamination unfixed. A better approach is for schools to pro-actively get the lead out – for example, replacing all lead-bearing water fountains with new water bottle stations that have filters certified to remove lead.
Fortunately, schools have the resources to go beyond the new legislation. Families, community leaders and school officials can find more information in our Get the Lead Out toolkit.