ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has been awarded $1.9 million to establish its Lead Testing in Drinking Water Program. The program will allow the state to test for lead contamination in the drinking water at child care centers.

“Health, safety and child development are the top priorities in the child care programs we oversee,” said OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole. “Lead causes serious harm to children, so it is incumbent on child care providers to be certain they are providing safe, clean drinking water. OCFS is very pleased to partner with them on this lead-testing grant to keep all children in care safe and healthy.”

OCFS said there is no safe level of lead for children. Lead exposure can cause serious physical and behavioral issues, including impaired hearing, lower IQ, damage to the nervous system and hyperactivity.

Participation in the program is voluntary. Child care providers can apply for the program until September 1, 2023. For more information and to apply, providers can visit the OCFS website.