Recently I had the good fortune to meet with knowledgeable staff from D.C. Councilmember (CM) Mary Cheh of Ward 3’s office and discussed D.C.’s efforts to eliminate lead in school and daycare drinking water. CM Cheh is Chairwoman of the Committee on Transportation on the Environment, which oversees legislation pertaining to lead levels in water sources throughout the District. A recent amendment to the Childhood Lead Exposure Prevention Act of 2017 expands mandatory water testing and remediation beyond public schools to recreation centers, charter schools and daycare centers in the District. The amendment also sets the action level initially set by the mayor for lead in drinking water from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommended level of 1 part per billion (ppb) to 5 ppb---the FDA’s action level for bottled water.
The new action level and testing for public and charter schools and recreation centers will go into effect when funding is available. According to CM Cheh's staff this should occur by October 2018. Daycare centers are required to begin placing filters on drinking water sources starting in October 2017 and must be in compliance with the new rules by October 2019. FACT very much supports D.C.’s daycare, recreation center, and charter school requirements. We know that lead is extremely dangerous to children and many infants are given formula mixed in water while at daycare centers. Ensuring that this water is filtered for lead is key to preventing lead exposure in infants and toddlers.
CM Cheh is passionate about decreasing toxic chemical exposure for D.C. residents. She is aware that lead is one of many toxins that have adverse affects on children’s health and that there are smart, practical ways to decrease toxic chemicals from our environment. We look forward to working with CM Cheh and her talented staff in continuing to decrease lead in drinking water and eliminating harmful chemicals from our environment.