The District of Columbia has received a “B+” grade, the highest grade given, for keeping dangerous levels of lead out of school drinking supplies, according to a new report entitled “Get the Lead Out” released on March 21 by the Environment America Research & Policy Center and U.S. PIRG Education Fund.
Michigan was among 22 other states that received lower “F” grades where children are exposed to lead through school drinking supplies. The residents of Michigan had in 2014 complained of discolored and particle-filled water. The water lines were replaced in the city only two years after the complaints. The project is expected to be completed this year.
According to the report, health threat posed by lead in water supplied to schools deserves immediate attention from state level and local policymakers for two reasons.
“First, lead is highly toxic and especially damaging to children — impairing how they learn, grow, and behave. So, we ought to be particularly vigilant against this health threat at schools and pre-schools, where our children spend their days learning and playing,” the report emphasizes.
It is added that the confirmed cases of lead in schools’ water are “just the tip of the iceberg.”
In its key findings, the report noted that most states are failing to protect children from lead in schools’ drinking water. “Several states have no requirements for schools and pre-schools to address the threat of lead in drinking water. Of the few states with applicable laws, most follow flaws in the federal rules — relying on testing instead of prevention and using standards that allow health-threatening levels of lead to persist in our children’s water at school,” the report states.
D.C. and the state of Illinois scored high in the report and got the grades of “B+” and “B” respectively. California, New York, Oregon, Maryland, New Hampshire and New Jersey got “C+” or “C”, while Arizona and Massachusetts both scored “D.”