Clean water advocates, experts discuss ways to promote safer drinking water in NC schools

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — “Get the lead out” was the message shared by a group of experts Tuesday as they tackled how to make drinking water safer for children at school.

The panelists say when kids grab a drink at their school’s water fountain what comes out isn’t always safe to take in due to potential lead contamination but they’re hoping to change that.

“This involves proactively removing the lead from school drinking water systems. From pipes to plumbing, to fountains and the faucets,” said Krista Early, Clean Water Advocate with Environment North Carolina.

The group of scientists and clean water advocates say there is a lack of accurate information and testing available for North Carolina Schools, therefore not allowing parents to keep their children protected.

“It causes both cognitive and behavioral difficulties in children at any level of exposure. So it’s very important to identify and mitigate lead exposure for children,” said Jennifer Hoponick Redmon, Senior Environmental Health Scientist at RTI International.

They want the legislature to pass House Bill 386 which would regulate lead testing at schools and provide funding to help them pay for testing and remediation.

“Without the testing results you can pretty much rest assured that there are children being poisoned in your district bottom line,” said Brian Kasher, Parent and Environmental Scientist with Quality First EHS.

The panel says community engagement, legislation, education, and testing will all help ensure that clean drinking water for students at school becomes constant.

While lead exposure can present a threat to everyone, pregnant mothers, newborns and children up to five years old are most affected.

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