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New Legislation Hopes to Require Lead Testing in Schools

Many are calling on Albany to pass new legislation that would demand testing for lead in schools.

According to the Democrat and Chronicle, advocacy groups met with state lawmakers and went over their five-point proposal to stop lead poisoning from entering into schools.

“This problem has been around a very long time, and it has not been fixed,” Christopher Goeken, director of League of Conservation Voters, said.

The recent lead outbreak around western New York and issues with the water supply in Flint, MI, sparked the new proposal.

Rochester news channel 13 WHAM reports that lead was outlawed in gasoline and paint nearly 40 years ago, but it still continues to seep into the water supply in Monroe County schools.

Along with the required testing for lead that is being requested by the new law, the advocacy groups are pushing for state funding for schools to be able to test for lead and fix any problems they discover.

Currently, only private water supply schools are required to test for lead. Many schools use the municipal water tests from homes but not in the schools.

Testing and repairing pipes and faucets can save about 10% of water bills by fixing leaks, but not testing the taps at schools can have much worse consequences than high payments.

“Almost three-quarters of my children coming from the surrounding neighborhood were seriously lead poisoned,” Ralph Spezio, principal of Enrico Fermi School 17, said.

The high levels of lead appearing in blood motivated Spezio to create Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning to help spread lead poisoning awareness.

USA Today reports that hundreds of day cares and schools throughout the country has failed lead tests between 2012 and 2015.

Most schools in the Rochester area have taken their own steps to begin testing for lead in water. Some of these schools found much higher lead levels in certain drinking fountains and water faucets.