New law mandates Indiana schools test for lead contamination

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Drinking water fountains and taps at public and private schools in Indiana will be required to be tested for lead contamination by 2023 under a new state law.

The law requires drinking water equipment in schools to be tested by Jan. 1, 2023, and take action if results show lead at higher than 15 parts per billion. Lake County schools will have to test every two years.

If the lead in the water exceeds 15 parts per billion, officials at the buildings would have to take action to remediate the contamination.

“Requiring regular lead testing in our school drinking water, where lead has been identified in the past, is an important first step in ensuring the safety of our schoolchildren,” said state Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago.

The state received a grant from the Indiana Finance Authority to cover the costs of testing.

Lead poisoning is especially dangerous for children as it can slwo development, cause irreversible brain, kidney and nervous system damage and cause behavioral issues.

“We applaud the Legislature for taking steps to reduce this source of lead exposure for Indiana’s children,” said Indra Frank, Hoosier Environmental Council director of environmental health and water policy.

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