Harrisburg – October 17, 2018 – Sen. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) hosted a news conference on lead testing in Pennsylvania schools in Harrisburg today at the Pennsylvania State Capitol.
In response to receiving a statewide grade of “F” for testing for lead in schools in the Get the Lead Out study by the Environment America Research and Policy Center, Senator Haywood discussed a new requirement for all 501 school districts to either test their water for lead or hold a public hearing to discuss the issue and address why the decision was made not to test for lead.
Sen. Haywood was joined by his colleagues Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) and State Rep. Donna Bullock (D-Philadelphia) to alert parents of the recent changes to the school code.
“Schools are now required to test for lead or hold a public hearing. If lead in water is found beyond 15 parts per billion, schools are required to implement a plan to ensure no adult or child is exposed to lead contamination.” said Senator Haywood.
“We wouldn’t accept a failing grade from our students, so we shouldn’t accept a failing grade from the schools where students go every day, in regards to unsafe lead levels.” Sen. Hughes said. “I’m thankful for the dedication from Senator Haywood and Representative Bullock on this issue. Our children’s health and wellbeing depend on us improving conditions in our schools.”
“The safety of our schools and the dangers that may exist within their walls are something that students and parents should not have to worry about, yet it is a great concern,” said Rep. Bullock. “While the School District of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth have been working together to remove lead paint from our schools, more steps must be taken to ensure our children have clean and safe environments to learn.”
The Pennsylvania Congress of Parents and Teachers (PTA) is supportive of the changes to the school code and applauds Senator Haywood for raising awareness on the issue.
“Thank you Senator Art Haywood for drawing attention to this important health issue that directly affects the lives of Pennsylvania’s children and families!” said Bonita Allen, President of the Pennsylvania PTA. “The Pennsylvania PTA and National PTA recognize the importance of safe drinking water to the health of all children and support right-to-know legislation and regulations in order for the public to be more aware of the environmental health hazards in their community and regular water testing in schools and day-care centers for lead contamination.”
Sen. Haywood is pleased with the progress that has been made and mentioned there is more work to be done for lead remediation.
“The changes in the school code are only the start of the process. Comprehensive legislation on lead in drinking water is still necessary to ensure our children have access to clean drinking water in their classrooms.”