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Chris Holden bill requires sampling of potable water


Averting toxic chemicals on school sites

This week, Assemblymember Chris Holden’s bill, AB 1851, School-site Lead Testing and Mitigated Pilot Program, which would require the Superintendent of Public Instruction to contract with a nonprofit technical assistance organization to sample all portable water system outlets, passed the Assembly’s Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee and is headed to the Education Committee.

“Even small amounts of lead can impact a child’s health and lower the ability to learn,” said Holden, who represents the 41st District. “Lead is a harmful substance that has no place in any drinking water, especially for our children’s water.”

While there is no safe amount of lead content in drinking water, children are particularly vulnerable to elevated levels of lead exposure, which can lead to adverse cardiovascular, renal, reproductive, immunological, and neurological effects, and cancer. A US Environmental Protection Agency analysis found that minority and low income populations experience disproportionate risk of lead exposure in drinking water. Over the years, a number of new school sites in South Los Angeles have had their water lines tested and officials found levels of chromium, lead  and arsenic in the soil. 

A hearing held in 2018 by the California State Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials highlighted the heightened risk these populations face. The federal government and state of California have enhanced lead testing standards and processes, but the misalignment of lead testing standards for childcare centers and TK-12 schools leaves room for important improvements for long-term results and safety.