Environment Georgia released a new toolkit today to help parents, teachers and administrators Get the Lead Out of school drinking water. The new toolkit highlights the unprecedented federal funding available to school districts to install filtered hydration stations and take other measures to ensure safe drinking water.
“Parents know their kids need safe drinking water at school, where they go to learn and play each day,” said Jennifer Duenas, Clean Water Associate at Environment Georgia, “What they might not realize are the solutions needed to stop lead contamination and the resources to school districts to implement them.”
Lead is a major threat to childrens’ health, and it is contaminating drinking water at schools in Georgia. As of 2016, Fulton County Schools, Dekalb County Public Schools, and Atlanta Public Schools found lead in their water producing readings as large as 556 parts per billion (ppb) far surpassing the American Academy of Pediatric recommended limit of 1 ppb.
Schools can start testing for lead by signing-up for free lead testing through the Clean Water for Georgia Kids Program and can get the lead out of their water by replacing fountains with water bottle stations that have filters to certified remove lead. Installing these filtered hydration stations would only cost a fraction of the nearly $110 billion in federal stimulus that school districts are receiving. Additional funding could be available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that set aside 200 million dollars for lead remediation in schools.
Environment Georgia’s toolkit includes a factsheet, video, sample call-to-action materials and links to additional resources.
“Getting the lead out of drinking water can help to protect the growing brains and developing nervous systems of babies and young children, and help to prevent conditions like developmental delay, speech delay, autism, ADD/ADHD, learning problems and future criminal activity.” said Pediatrician, Dr. Yolanda Whyte.