New Report Shows Millions of Students Face Lead Exposure At School

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Flint, Michigan made headlines when lead contamination levels were at an all-time high. According to a report from the Government Accountability Office, this is now a serious problem in schools across the country. The report found that 43 % of school districts in the U.S. serving over 35 million students have unsafe levels of lead. Another 41 % of school districts hadn’t even tested their water at all, leaving students with no information on water safety.

Schools that were found to have dangerous lead levels in their drinking water reportedly have told the GAO that they would be replacing the water fountains, installing filters, and providing bottled water to students in order to reduce or eliminate exposure to their students.

However, the case still remains, why this is a problem public schools in the U.S. are facing at all. This is a troubling discovery as we are slowly beginning to see the true scope of the outdated water system in the country, and now we see the potential negative effects. 

“The findings in this report are disturbing and unacceptable,” the Democrats said in joint statement. “No child should be put at risk for toxic lead exposure simply by drinking water at school.” While eight states require schools to test their water, the Environmental Protection Agency is the organization in charge of public water regulations, and it’s clear there needs to a serious overhaul of policy.”

This report should serve as a wake-up call to the Trump Administration that it must take immediate action to address lead in drinking water. The six Democrats continued, “The Administration should finalize a stronger Lead and Copper Rule and issue protective guidance requiring lead testing for all public schools. As Members of Congress, we are committed to ensuring that states and localities have the funding and resources necessary to remediate lead in their schools and throughout their drinking water systems if it is discovered.”

Lead is seriously toxic, especially to children. When consumed, it can lead to a variety of illnesses and complications, including developmental delays and behavioral issues. While kids are usually exposed to unsafe levels of lead through lead-based paint and contaminated dust in homes, water poses a threat due to its direct way of consumption.

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