Report finds majority of schools not testing for lead in water

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A report from the Government Accountability Office found lead in the drinking water of U.S. schools.

The report found that less than 50 percent of schools tested for lead in 2016 and 2017. Of those, 37 percent had elevated lead levels.

“This devastating report makes clear that even now millions of America’s children are still being exposed to dangerous amounts of lead at school,” Rep. Paul Tonko said.  “New York State has been a national leader on raising standards for lead testing in schools but those standards may not cover all schools. I strongly encourage parents to contact their local schools to make sure their water is being tested for lead.”

GAO conducted the report after a number of lawmakers made separate requests.

The report includes seven recommendations to address lead in school drinking water, including that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) update its guidance on how schools should determine lead levels requiring action. GAO also recommended that EPA and the Department of Education collaborate to further disseminate guidance and encouraging testing for lead in schools. EPA and the Department of Education have agreed with GAO’s recommendations.

Read the GAO report.

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