Jefferson City- Environment Missouri worked alongside the Filter First Coalition to require filtration of school’s drinking water when lead contamination exceeds a new 5 part per billion limit, through the passage of SB 681, and $27 million toward lead remediation.
Missouri’s children deserve clean water, especially at school where they spend most of their time playing and learning. Unfortunately, our children are currently being exposed to lead-tainted water at schools and daycare facilities at a much higher average than most states. Lead-tainted water occurs due to pipes, fixtures, faucets, and plumbing that contain lead. Health experts state that there is no safe level of lead, especially for children.
With the signing of the Get the Lead Out Act, Missouri has become the only state in the Midwest (so far) to require installation of filters to remediate lead contamination at schools, including early childhood education centers. The law also means Missouri joins a growing number of states that have set lower lead limits on schools’ water, albeit not as low as the 1 part per billion limit recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Governor Parson included $27 million to help schools pay for these steps, using funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
Environment Missouri’s State Director Bridget Sanderson provided the following statement.
“I am very pleased with the Missouri legislature in their speedy passage of the Get the Lead Out Act. While there is still no safe level of lead for Missouri’s children, this is one step closer to providing clean drinking water in the Lead Belt.
Environment Missouri testified in favor of this bill and the funding mechanism alongside a diverse coalition of water scientists, lawyers, environmental organizations, teachers union, and multi-faith congregations.
Environment Missouri’s national clean water program director John Rumpler added the following statement:
With the new school year just around the corner, Missouri school districts should see this new state law as a launching point for comprehensive measures to ensure safe drinking water for kids. We already know that lead contamination of schools’ water is pervasive across the country. So instead of waiting for test results to confirm that Missouri children have been drinking lead-laced water, schools should pro-actively replace lead-bearing fountains and install filters on every tap used for drinking or cooking. Our Get the Lead Out toolkit provides families and school officials with the resources to take action right now.