Update: The current state action level for lead in water of 15 parts per billion – the threshold at which remediation must occur – is not a standard based on health or safety, as any amount of lead in water or blood can have negative effects. Environmental advocacy organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Healthy Schools Network are advocating for NY to lower its action level to 1ppb before public schools begin testing their for lead by 2020. More on this here.
The model bill is posted on the NRDC website here. The bill also requires specific remediation efforts including filtration systems on any affected water outlets. NRDC also posts a detailed explanation of the problems with the current system of testing for lead in water in NYC schools, and how the model NYS bill follows the law adopted by the District of Columbia.
The DOE found peeling lead paint at 486 schools built before 1985, including over 938 classrooms serving kids in 3-K, Pre-K, Kindergarten and first grade. More on this at Gothamist [with a WNYC radio sound file], Chalkbeat and NY Post.
Which brings up the question, if they had remediated them last year, as they claimed, how effective is the process by which they address this?
The DOE should immediately inform parents at all schools with classrooms that tested positive for lead. The more research is done about lead and its effects, the more scientists realize that even children with tiny amounts of detectable lead in their blood are more likely to have academic and behavior problems. See my earlier blog post about this, as well as these two scientific studies.
One good thing is that there is new research showing that medical treatment to remove lead from blood can be effective, according to a paper published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics and discussed in Chalkbeat here.