CALPIRG’s Statement on San Diego Unified’s New Plan for Lead Free Drinking Water

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Statement from CALPIRG Public Health Advocate, Laura Deehan about San Diego Unified School Districts New Plan to Address Lead in School Drinking Water

“We are thrilled to join San Diego Unified faculty and administrators today to learn about the new district plan to get lead out of school drinking water.
Lead is highly toxic to children- even exposure to very small amounts are now linked to irreversible damage to a child’s brain, and can cause IQ loss, ADHD and anxiety disorders.”
“Unfortunately, lead has long been commonly used in plumbing, and small amounts can leach into our drinking water. When San Diego Unified learned about the problem in their drinking water in 2017, they adopted what was at the time, the strongest standard in California, requiring action whenever they found lead exceeding 5 ppb and a commitment to come up with a plan by 2020 to get below 1 ppb district wide, the level pediatricians say should be the maximum allowed in drinking water.”  
“Clay Elementary became the pilot school to determine the best ways to get lead free school drinking water. They tore out old fixtures and replaced them with new lead free fountains and water filling stations. The efforts worked. The drinking water here at Clay Elementary now tests below 1ppb and SDUSD has developed a plan to expand this model throughout the school district.”
“As we can see from the leadership displayed here at Clay Elementary, it is possible to get the lead out and protect children from this preventable toxic exposure. We urge the Board of Education to adopt the plan at tonight’s board meeting so that all the schools in San Diego Unified can be transformed in the same way that Clay Elementary was transformed.  And we urge school districts across California and the US to follow San Diego’s example and protect children from this toxic threat.”