Talking About Lead in School Drinking Water with D.C. Councilmember Cheh’s Staff

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.  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 changes the action level 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.

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Talking About Lead in School Drinking Water with D.C.’s Deputy Mayor for Education’s Office

I recently had the privilege to meet with staff from D.C.’s Deputy Mayor for Education’s Office and representatives from the Department of General Services and District of Columbia Public Schools.  These folks work to keep lead out of school drinking water and protect D.C. children from ingesting this toxic substance while in school.  Last year D.C. lowered its action level for lead in school drinking water from 15 parts per billion (ppb) to 1 ppb.  In so doing, the Department of General Services (DGS) was tasked to place a filter, which would filter lead out of the water, on each water source throughout the entire school district. 

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National Problem: Lead Tests Reveal 64 Public Schools in Washington, D.C. Had High Lead Levels in Drinking Water

The results of lead testing done at 113 DC public schools in April, May, and June of 2016 revealed elevated lead levels in drinking water in 64 schools.  In June 2016 the D.C. Department of General Services adopted a 1 ppb action level for lead tests on drinking water sources in all D.C. public school and parks and recreation centers.

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