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Groups Urge Budget Committee to Include Money to Get the Lead Out of Drinking Water at Schools
BOSTON — Today the Joint Committee on Ways and Means will hold a hearing on House 1, the Governor’s proposed budget, which included up to $30 million in funding to help schools eliminate lead from their drinking water.
Lead is a potent neurotoxin that impairs how children learn, develop and behave. The medical consensus is clear: there is no safe level of lead exposure for children. Yet according to lead testing data from the Department of Environmental Protection, 59 percent of the 43,000 taps tested at 980 schools across Massachusetts since 2016 found lead in the water.
“We know we have lead in drinking water at schools across the Commonwealth. And we know there is no safe level of lead,” said Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director of MASSPIRG. “When Governor Baker proposed funding for lead remediation in schools, he took a critical step towards protecting our children’s health from this toxic threat. We hope this committee will support that effort and ensure safe water for our children at school.”
In order to eliminate this threat to our children’s health, schools will have to take steps to “get the lead out” — including installing filters on faucets and replacing lead-bearing fountains and other parts of the water system.
“While Massachusetts has a voluntary testing program, nothing has been done to ensure that schools can fix the problems they’re finding,” said Emma Dietz, Clean Water Associate with Environment Massachusetts. “It’s time to stop waiting for tests to show us that our children are drinking lead-laced water. This funding would allow schools to take the first key steps to get the lead out.”
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