Over the past five years, the tragedy of Flint, Michigan, has stunned the nation. We watched the drinking water of an entire city become contaminated with lead. And, we know now that 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 preschools — flowing from thousands of fountains and faucets where our kids drink water every day.
In all likelihood, the 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.1
The health threat of lead in schools’ water deserves immediate attention from state and local policymakers for two reasons. First, lead is highly toxic and especially damaging to children — impairing how they learn, grow, and behave. So, we ought to be particularly vigilant against this health threat at schools and preschools, where our children spend their days learning and playing. Second, current regulations are too weak to protect our children from lead-laden water at school.