The California legislature has introduced a bill that requires lead tests at all school drinking water fountains and faucets, according to a press release from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
The bill also sets a goal of reducing lead levels in schools’ drinking water to zero.
The tests cover all fountains and faucets that have not already been tested and replaced. The fountains and faucets are used by kindergarten through 12th grade students at state Title 1 schools built before 2010.
Assembly Bill 249, authored by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), will help protect California children from lead’s serious and long-term health harms. The Environmental Working Group and Children Now, an advocacy organization focused on children’s health, are co-sponsors of the bill.
If signed into law, the bill would set a legal goal of reducing school lead levels to zero. If lead is detected at schools above 5 parts per billion, A.B. 249 will require that the contamination be addressed. A state allocation of $25 million would pay for the tests and cleanup.
“Lead is a serious neurotoxin that can permanently affect children’s development, and there is no safe level of lead,” said Susan Little, EWG senior advocate for California government affairs. “The science is clear — we already know about lead’s hazards. So we should do all that we can to protect the children in our state.
The bill passed the state legislature with bipartisan support and now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his expected signature.