Data Shows Water at 100 Schools Holds Double Federal Lead Limit

Increased testing has opened the public’s eyes to the scope of the problem.

As more water systems get tested for lead, researchers have discovered hundreds of schools with lead levels above the federal limit.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s analysis of water at hundreds of schools around the country found 278 institutions violated federal lead restrictions at some point over the past three years, according to CBS News.

Roughly 100 of those violations featured lead levels more than double the federal safety standard.

The lead water crisis in Flint, Michigan has driven the agency to inspect the water systems at schools and daycare centers that aren’t normally checked under federal guidelines.

Typically, a school’s water system is only inspected for lead if it is independent from other sources, which means roughly nine out of every ten schools’ water systems are rarely checked.

The vast majority of violations were the result of old buildings, drinking fountains and water fixtures that were made with lead.

In most cases, replacing the lead pipes used in the water systems is too costly to fit in budgets, forcing schools to provide bottled water for their students.

As the scope of the lead problem becomes clearer, lawmakers have argued for more extensive testing and increased funding to replace older pipes.

The lead violations were most common in states with buildings that are older on average, such as Pennsylvania, Maine, New Jersey, and other states along the east coast.

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