Public health leaders and organizations called on state lawmakers to pass a bill to get the lead out of drinking water at Massachusetts schools and childcare centers at a State House public hearing.
Testifying before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources, a coalition of public health, environment and parent groups urged the committee to pass An Act ensuring safe drinking water in schools, (S526 & H851) filed by State Senator Joan B. Lovely (Salem) and State Rep. Kate Lipper-Garabedian (Melrose) and a bipartisan group of legislative cosponsors to get the lead out of our schools and childcare centers.
Lead is a potent neurotoxin that impairs how our children develop, learn, and behave. Yet, according to the lead testing data from the Department of Environmental Protection, more than 80% of the 62,557 taps tested from 1738 schools and child care centers across Massachusetts since 2016 tested positive for lead.
“The data is clear – based on state testing results we know there is lead in most of the taps tested at schools and childcare centers across the state and we know children are the most impacted from exposure to lead,” said Deirdre Cummings, MASSPIRG legislative director. “We need policies that get the lead out of faucets and fountains in our schools and pre-schools.”
Earlier this year, MASSPIRG Education Fund and Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center released the third edition of the national report, Get The Lead Out report, which gave Massachusetts a C- grade for its lack of a statewide requirement to prevent lead contamination of schools’ drinking water.
Legislative Director, MASSPIRG
Deirdre runs MASSPIRG’s public health, consumer protection and tax and budget programs. Deirdre has led campaigns to improve public records law and require all state spending to be transparent and available on an easy-to-use website, close $400 million in corporate tax loopholes, protect the state’s retail sales laws to reduce overcharges and preserve price disclosures, reduce costs of health insurance and prescription drugs, and more. Deirdre also oversees a Consumer Action Center in Weymouth, Mass., which has mediated 17,000 complaints and returned $4 million to Massachusetts consumers since 1989. Deirdre currently resides in Maynard, Mass., with her family. Over the years she has visited all but one of the state's 351 towns — Gosnold.