U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) joined 34 colleagues in calling on the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect students from lead in school drinking water. A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report shows an estimated 41 percent of public school districts did not test for lead in school drinking water, and a third of districts that were tested showed elevated levels.
“Lead is a neurotoxin, and any amount of exposure in a child can slow growth and development, damage hearing and speech, and cause learning disabilities,” wrote the Senators. “Given that lead exposure can result in a variety of health impacts, especially for young children, we urge you to swiftly implement GAO’s recommendations to encourage more school districts to test for lead and take immediate action to combat lead in school drinking water.”
U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) led the letter and U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-ND), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Mike Bennet (D-CO), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Edward Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Tina Smith (D-MN) also signed the letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Acting Administrator of the EPA Andrew Wheeler.
Earlier this month, Kaine voted for the Water Resources Development Act, which passed 99-1 in the Senate, authorizing $25 million for the Lead Testing in School and Child Care Program Drinking Water Grant that provides funding for lead contamination testing at schools and child care centers. More information on the grant can be found at https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/wiin-grant-lead-testing-school-and-child-care-program-drinking-water.
Stay up to date on everything and follow us on Facebook here