Redraft of Lead Bill Reported Out Favorably

fountain-2795561_960_720.jpg

I am proud to announce the favorable release of my and Senator Lovely's bill to study the prevalence of lead in school drinking water (H.2915/S.456) from the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture (ENRA). Our bill would mandate the creation of a commission tasked with solving the emerging public health crisis of children exposed to lead in their schools.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Environmental Protection, there is no safe level of lead exposure. In Massachusetts, nearly half of the school water tests conducted (49.7%) found some level of lead in the water. Lead in pipes, plumbing, water fountains and more have been found to leach lead into school water. In addition, many schools’ water service lines are still made of lead. While lead removal in paint and gasoline has been successful, lead in our water supply still remains a burgeoning threat to public health.

It is well known that lead in drinking water is dangerous for the developing brains of children. Thus, it is especially concerning that Massachusetts currently does not mandate lead testing in school water, which means we don't know the extent of the problem. This bill sets a clear path to resolving this problem that involves teachers, parents, administrators, and health and infrastructure experts. 

All Children deserve a safe learning environment where their curiosity and intelligence is fostered rather than hindered. No parent should worry that a drink of water at school could harm their child.

The commission will be tasked with filing a report to the legislature on evidence-based methods for testing for and remediating the harmful effects of lead in school drinking water, the cost of implementing those solutions, and the feasibility of each solution.

Thank you Chairman Pignatelli and Chairwoman Gobi for the favorable report of this critical bill. The bill will now move on to the next stage of the legislative process en route, hopefully, to a vote.

Preyel Patel