Over the past two years, the tragedy of Flint, Michigan has stunned the nation. We watched the drinking water of an entire city become contaminated with lead. And now we know this toxic threat extends well beyond Flint to communities across the country. In fact, test results now show that lead is even contaminating drinking water in schools and pre-schools — flowing from thousands of fountains and faucets where our kids drink water every day.

Lead is highly toxic, especially for children

A potent neurotoxin, lead affects how our children learn, grow, and behave. According to the EPA,"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." In fact, medical researchers estimate that more than 24 million children in America will lose IQ points due to low levels of lead.

Lead in the drinking water at school 

Even the limited available data shows drinking water laced with lead at schools and early childhood programs across the country.

The threat of lead in schools’ water affects not only big cities but also suburban and rural communities. Tests have documented lead-tainted water in schools Cherry Hill, NJ, Bergen County, NJYarmouth, ME, and several other school districts in upstate New York, and suburban communities in Illinois.

Sometimes, the levels of lead are exceedingly high. For example, one drinking water fountain at a Montessori school in Cleveland had 1,560 parts per billion. A school in the Chicago suburbs had lead-water concentrations at 212 times the federal standard. Leicester Memorial Elementary in Massachusetts had a tap that tested at 22,400 ppb.

 

A pervasive threat to our children’s health

In all likelihood, these confirmed cases of lead in schools’ water are just the tip of the iceberg. Most schools have at least some lead in their pipes, plumbing, or fixtures. And where there is lead, there is risk of contamination. 

Massachusetts is one of the few states to test extensively and publish all results showing any level of lead in schools’ water. The results are shocking: nearly half of the tests (49.7 percent) conducted at Bay State schools so far have found some level of lead in the water, according to data published by the state as of January 6, 2017.  

Time to Get the Lead Out

Given these facts, the only way to ensure safe drinking water for our children is simply to “get the lead out” of our schools and pre-schools. This involves proactively removing lead-bearing parts from schools’ drinking water systems — from service lines to faucets and fixtures —and installing filters certified to remove lead at every tap used for drinking or cooking.

What you can do 

Contact your school and ask whether it has lead pipes or plumbing. Ask if the water has been tested for lead and to see all the results. Sometimes schools only report levels of lead in water above 15 parts per billion, but there is no safe level of lead in drinking water, especially for our children. 

In addition, we’re calling on all states to “get the lead out” of schools drinking water. Please urge your governor to take strong action to protect our children’s health. Take action. 

Clean Water Updates

News Release | Environment Minnesota

Statement on Release of PolyMet Sulfide Mine Plan

If approved, PolyMet would be Minnesota’s first sulfide mine – ushering in a wave of new plans for this uniquely dirty and destructive mining that would threaten the beloved Boundary Waters wilderness and Lake Superior.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Minnesota

Minnesota moves forward to track and clean up water pollution

This week, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency made several major announcements regarding water pollution across the state and new efforts to improve water quality in the state’s rivers, lakes, and streams.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Minnesota

Thousands of citizens call on EPA to follow sound science, protect all waterways

Today, in an effort to increase protections for Minnesota's 10000 lakes and streams and rivers across the state, Environment Minnesota delivered over 400 public comments and letters from people from across Minnesota to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment Minnesota Research & Policy Center

Frightening Facts about Minnesota's Waters

Today on Halloween, Environment Minnesota unveiled a new factsheet that compiles the most frightening realities on toxic pollutants, alien invaders, green slime from algae, lakes being buried alive, mutating fish, and ghoulish bacteria that haunt Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, and drinking water.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Minnesota

Terrifying but True Facts about Pollution in Minnesota's Waterways

Today on Halloween, Environment Minnesota unveiled a new factsheet that compiles the most frightening realities on toxic pollutants, alien invaders, green slime from algae, lakes being buried alive, mutating fish, and ghoulish bacteria that haunt Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, and drinking water.

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed