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

Report | Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center

Too Close to Home: Nuclear Power and the Threat to Drinking Water

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which took place in March 2011, delivered a reminder to the world that nuclear power comes with inherent risks. In the United States, 49 million Americans receive their drinking water from surface sources located within 50 miles of an active nuclear power plant —inside the boundary the Nuclear Regulatory Commission uses to assess risk to food and water supplies.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Maryland

Groups Use Stadium to Highlight Massive Chicken Manure Problem, as State Wavers on Stronger Bay Cleanup Rules

With Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium providing a symbolic backdrop, today Environment Maryland released a report, An Unsustainable Path: Why Maryland’s Manure Pollution Rules Are Failing to Protect the Chesapeake Bay, highlighting significant flaws in Maryland’s current manure application rules and outlining the need for stricter management.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Maryland

Agribusiness Lobby Fights Against Clean Water: Millions Spent on Campaign Contributions and Lobbying to Oppose Pollution Reduction

Big agribusiness interests are among the largest roadblocks to clean water in the United States, according to a new report by Environment Maryland: Growing Influence: the Political Power of Agribusiness and the Fouling of America’s Waterways.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Maryland

Sen. Cardin, Advocates: Maryland Can Lead the Charge in Curbing Urban Fertilizer Pollution in the Chesapeake Bay

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin joined Environment Maryland and other Maryland advocates and business representatives today to call for action to reduce urban fertilizer pollution. Environment Maryland also released their new report on the topic, Urban Fertilizers & the Chesapeake Bay: An Opportunity for Major Pollution Reduction.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Maryland

National Research Council Faults States for Water Protection Failures

Today the National Research Council of the National Academies issued a new report covering states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed: “Achieving Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Goals in the Chesapeake Bay: An Evaluation of Program Strategies and Implementation.” 

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed