Report: Majority of tested Washington school taps have unsafe lead levels
A report by advocacy group Environment Washington found that 60.8 percent of drinking water taps in the 199 Washington schools that were tested have elevated levels of lead.
Ninety-seven percent of those schools and preschools had at least one tap where lead was detected at above 1 part per billion, or ppb. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that schools limit lead in drinking water to 1 ppb.
According to the Washington Department of Health, lead is especially concerning in children because their brains and nervous systems are still developing. Even low lead levels can affect IQ and ability to pay attention.
Rep. Gerry Pollet (D – Seattle) recently introduced HB 1860, which addresses lead in drinking water in schools and calls for schools to develop an action plan to prevent elevated lead levels. It also would require schools to notify parents when tests detect lead levels exceeding 1 ppb and immediate action at 5 ppb or higher.
“Why would any school official or health official not want to know what the lead level is in school water?” Pollet said. “Why would any school or health official not want to ensure that the lead contamination in children’s school water is never above the level that reduces children’s IQ?”
The bill is currently in committee.