Senate Bill 647 (formally SB 17) was reintroduce in April 2017. This legislation requires schools in the Commonwealth to test for elevated levels of lead.
News reports on the contaminated water supply in Flint, Michigan have brought the conversation about lead to the national forefront. A 2014 Department of Health study found that children in more than eighteen communities throughout the Commonwealth have tested positive for lead at levels higher than those in Flint. Some of the communities in that report are: Allentown, Altoona, Bethlehem, Erie, Johnstown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Reading, and Scranton.
While the tragedy in Flint focuses on the water supply, the dangers of lead in Pennsylvania also extend to our schools, day cares, and housing stock through lead-based paint. It is time we take action to analyze the Commonwealth’s potential lead issues and ensure that our children and our communities are safe.
My legislation requires that every school building be tested for lead prior to the start of the school year. Testing will include water, paint, and soil. Results of the test would be sent to parents of every child enrolled in the school as well as be posted on the school district’s website. If a school tests at lead levels higher than the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) acceptable amount, they would be required to submit a remediation plan to the Department of Education.