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Statement: fy20 State Budget and Failure to Include Money to Get Lead Out School of Drinking Water
“We know we have lead in drinking water at schools across the Commonwealth. And we know there is no safe level of lead. The Legislature missed an opportunity to protect our children from lead in drinking water by not including money for lead remediation in schools.
Governor Baker had initially proposed up to $30 million in his budget, and the Senate had included $5 million, but the final budget failed to include any money to get the lead of school 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.
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. Funding would have made it easier for schools to take the first key steps to get the lead out of drinking water and protect kids from this toxic threat.
MASSPIRG is working to pass An act Ensuring Safe Drinking Water in Schools, H774 & S500, filed by Senator Joan Lovely and Representative Lori Ehrlich, to get the lead of od drinking water at schools and daycare centers in Massachusetts.
For more information, see MASSPIRG’s report, Get the Lead Out that graded the effectiveness of 32 states’ policies in addressing lead in school drinking water. Massachusetts earned a D."
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