Unsafe Lead Levels Found in Texas Schools

AISD found high levels at two of 66 tested schools

"There is no safe level of lead" for children. According to a new report from Environment Texas and TexPIRG Education Fund, that's the scientific and medical consensus. Folks might presume that only acute situations – such as the ongoing lead exposure crisis in Flint, Mich. – merit concern. But this report ("Get the Lead Out – Ensuring Safe Drinking Water for Our Children at School") concludes that because of the toxic nature of even small amounts, "more than 24 million children in America will lose IQ points due to low levels of lead." In a press release with the report, Luke Metzger of Environment Texas called for stricter regulation of school water systems – where outdated supply lines can leach lead into school drinking water – and reported that preliminary testing had found lead in the drinking water of many Texas schools. According to the report, "65 percent of Texas schools which have tested for lead in drinking water have measured unsafe levels."

"Schools should be safe places for our kids to learn and play, but Texas is failing to protect our kids from lead in drinking water," said Metzger. Of 594 schools in Austin, Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth which have been tested, 386 have measured levels of lead greater than 1 part per billion. Austin ISD has tested about half of its schools, and identified high lead levels at 2 of 66 schools tested, but has not released detailed results. Environment Texas is calling on the Legislature to require schools to remove lead service lines, require filters certified to remove lead at every tap used for drinking and cooking, and allow no more than 1 ppb of lead in water at schools. See the entire report at www.environmenttexas.org.

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Luke Metzger, Environment Texas

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