Over the past two years, the tragedy of Flint, Michigan has stunned the nation. We watched the drinking water of an entire city become contaminated with lead. And now we know this toxic threat extends well beyond Flint to communities across the country. In fact, test results now show that lead is even contaminating drinking water in schools and pre-schools — flowing from thousands of fountains and faucets where our kids drink water every day.

Lead is highly toxic, especially for children

A potent neurotoxin, lead affects how our children learn, grow, and behave. According to the EPA,"In children, low levels of [lead] exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells." In fact, medical researchers estimate that more than 24 million children in America will lose IQ points due to low levels of lead.

Lead in the drinking water at school 

Even the limited available data shows drinking water laced with lead at schools and early childhood programs across the country.

The threat of lead in schools’ water affects not only big cities but also suburban and rural communities. Tests have documented lead-tainted water in schools Cherry Hill, NJ, Bergen County, NJYarmouth, ME, and several other school districts in upstate New York, and suburban communities in Illinois.

Sometimes, the levels of lead are exceedingly high. For example, one drinking water fountain at a Montessori school in Cleveland had 1,560 parts per billion. A school in the Chicago suburbs had lead-water concentrations at 212 times the federal standard. Leicester Memorial Elementary in Massachusetts had a tap that tested at 22,400 ppb.

 

A pervasive threat to our children’s health

In all likelihood, these confirmed cases of lead in schools’ water are just the tip of the iceberg. Most schools have at least some lead in their pipes, plumbing, or fixtures. And where there is lead, there is risk of contamination. 

Massachusetts is one of the few states to test extensively and publish all results showing any level of lead in schools’ water. The results are shocking: nearly half of the tests (49.7 percent) conducted at Bay State schools so far have found some level of lead in the water, according to data published by the state as of January 6, 2017.  

Time to Get the Lead Out

Given these facts, the only way to ensure safe drinking water for our children is simply to “get the lead out” of our schools and pre-schools. This involves proactively removing lead-bearing parts from schools’ drinking water systems — from service lines to faucets and fixtures —and installing filters certified to remove lead at every tap used for drinking or cooking.

What you can do 

Contact your school and ask whether it has lead pipes or plumbing. Ask if the water has been tested for lead and to see all the results. Sometimes schools only report levels of lead in water above 15 parts per billion, but there is no safe level of lead in drinking water, especially for our children. 

In addition, we’re calling on all states to “get the lead out” of schools drinking water. Please urge your governor to take strong action to protect our children’s health. Take action. 

Clean Water Updates

Blog Post

Time to ban the beads | Russell Bassett

We all want our teeth to be clean after brushing, and our bodies to be clean after showering, but did you know the products used in these everyday activities could be harming wildlife? Hundreds of commonly-used household products contain tiny plastic microbeads, which can be a big problem for our environment. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Nothing to fear from clean water | Russell Bassett

Halloween is the annual time to celebrate all the creepy things that go bump in the night, but what's really fightening are the many very real threats to our waterways and drinking water. Nothing is more important to life than clean water, yet few things are taken more for granted. We turn on our taps or swim in a local lake without fear because we believe the systems are working to keep our water clean. The fact is, those systems don’t always work, and in many cases, are failing to keep water safe. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

EPA Clean Water Rule To Take Effect Tomorrow, Protecting Wetlands & More than 4,000 Miles of New Jersey Streams

Developers can no longer pave over wetlands and oil companies can no longer dump into streams unheeded, thanks to the Obama Administration’s Clean Water Rule that takes effect tomorrow. The action will protect the streams that feed the Delaware River and the Shore, as well as drinking water sources for 1 in 3 Americans and more than half of New Jersey residents.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

Shelter from the Storm

New Jersey’s wetlands protect our homes and businesses from damaging flooding while helping to clean our water and provide habitat for wildlife. To safeguard our wetlands, we need to ensure that they enjoy the full protection of the federal Clean Water Act.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Paddling against the wind | Russell Bassett

For Margo Pellegrino — who recently completed a 1,700 mile journey from New York to Chicago in an outrigger canoe — advocating for clean water can be like “paddling against the wind on a windy day.” Now that she’s back home in Medford Lakes, N.J., she’s not slowed down any in her quest to protect our waterways and ensure clean water for all Americans. 

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed