More than two-thirds of 31 states surveyed received “failing grades” in their efforts to make inroads into the lead-contamination problem in schools, a report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund and Environment America Research & Policy Center finds.
What’s more, even the ones addressing the issue are not ridding their drinking-water systems entirely of lead, even though there is no such thing as a safe level of the neurotoxic metal, especially when it comes to children, says the report “Get the Lead Out,” a follow-up to a 2017 report of the same name.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 1 part per billion. Most schools tested had at least 5 ppb, and some have much more.
There were some bright spots, including the District of Columbia, which outranked all the evaluated states for putting lead filters in drinking-water systems where children go, including schools, child care centers, and parks. Illinois got kudos for requiring its schools to take action on any lead level detected. States showing improvement included California, Oregon, and Maryland.
A version of this article appeared in the April 10, 2019 edition of Education Week as Millions of Children Nationwide Exposed to Lead in School Drinking Water