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

Report | Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center

Fracking by the Numbers

Over the past decade, the oil and gas industry has fused two technologies—hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—in a highly polluting effort to unlock oil and gas in underground rock formations across the United States. This report seeks to quantify some of the key impacts of fracking to date—including the production of toxic wastewater, water use, chemicals use, air pollution, land damage and global warming emissions.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Massachusetts

Legislators Learn of Fracking Damage

At the state legislature’s first-ever hearing on fracking, Environment Massachusetts presented petitions from more than 11,700 residents calling on Beacon Hill to ban the dirty drilling process and spoke in support of H.788, a bill introduced by Representatives Peter Kocot and Denise Provost to ban fracking in the Commonwealth.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Massachusetts

Fracking on Film

As the new Matt Damon movie, Promised Land, opened in theaters today, Environment Massachusetts sounded the alarm about the prospect of fracking coming to the Bay State. Real life experience, in states like Pennsylvania, suggests that drilling would take a severe toll on the Western Massachusetts environment and the health of its people.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

No swimming allowed, but logging is OK?

Why is logging allowed at the Quabbin Reservoir if swimming, camping, cross country skiing, and ice fishing  are prohibited?  We want to hear from you!  Post a picture of yourself to our facebook page- whether you are snowmobiling, horseback riding or playing frisbee, we want to see you doing something that is NOT allowed at the Quabbin Reservoir.  

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Massachusetts

On the Clean Water Act's 35th Anniversary, Polluters Continue to Contaminate Massachusetts' Waterways

Boston, MA— More than 75% percent of industrial and municipal facilities across Massachusetts discharged more pollution into our waterways than their Clean Water Act permits allow in 2005, according to Troubled Waters: An analysis of Clean Water Act compliance, a new report released today by Environment Massachusetts.

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed