BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A new report shows Massachusetts still has a lot of work to do when it comes to removing lead from the water at its schools and child care centers.
The Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center and MASSPIRG Education Fund's "Get the Lead Out" study published Thursday gave Massachusetts a C- grade because there is no statewide requirement to prevent and fix the problem of lead in school water.
According to data from the state Department of Environmental Protection, more than 80% of the 62,557 taps tested from 1,738 schools and child care centers across the Commonwealth since 2016 tested positive for lead.
"The problem really isn’t with lead in the source drinking water," MASSPIRG Legislative Director Deirdre Cummings told WBZ NewsRadio Thursday. "Where we have the problem is in the hardware. Our schools, many of them are aging, but believe it or not we still used lead in a lot of hardware up until recently."
Massachusetts currently has a voluntary lead testing program for its schools and child care centers. MASSPIRG and Environment Massachusetts are backing legislation (S526 & H851) filed by Senator Joan B. Lovely and Representative Kate Lipper-Garabedian that would, among other things, mandate regular testing in those buildings and mandate schools to get rid of all lead plumbing. It would also require water filtration stations to be installed.
"As a former public school teacher and mother to two school-aged sons, I am proud to have filed this legislation to promote the health and safety of students and teachers across the Commonwealth", said Representative Lipper-Garabedian in a statement. "I’m glad to be working with Senator Lovely, MASSPIRG, Environment Massachusetts, the Massachusetts PTA and others to press for health-based standards that ensure safe water for students and educators in our schools and childcare centers."
WBZ's Nichole Davis (@NicholeDWBZ) reports.