Education

Federal Bill Introduced to Require Lead Testing at School

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WASHINGTON –U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), released the following statement on Monday regarding Gov. Chris Christie's announcement of increased funding for lead contamination in school drinking water.

"After blocking additional funding to help prevent lead poisoning in our communities earlier this year, Governor Christie seems to have finally realized that we must be proactive in protecting our kids against lead contamination. Students will be better served by the new testing requirements and parents will no longer be left in the dark about the quality of the water their children drink every day at school," Rep. Pascrell said.

In March, Rep. Pascrell announced new legislation (H.R. 5070) that would help schools and childcare centers test their drinking water for potential lead contamination. The bill, a companion to legislation offered by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), would establish a new federal grant program to provide childcare centers and schools resources to test for lead contamination in the drinking water.

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"Federal legislation I introduced with Senator Schumer would provide additional resources for schools to test for lead contamination. In the meantime, the State needs to do everything in its power to keep the children of New Jersey safe from the negative effects of lead," Rep. Pascrell said. "My office has proactively reached out to every superintendent in our district to track current testing protocols, to see what can be done to assist or even start the process of testing, and to encourage full transparency with parents."

Under the bill, daycare centers and schools would apply for federal funding through the grant program annually. This bill will create a new $100 million federal grant program through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would help school districts and child care centers test their drinking water for potential lead contamination. A similar grant program was originally part of a 1988 bill called the Lead Contamination Control Act, but the legislative text outlining the program was struck down by the courts due to a drafting error.

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