Los Angeles sets statewide standard for lead testing in schools
- California school districts are now being required to test their water supplies under a new law passed last year, proposed after tests found elevated levels of lead at schools in several counties statewide, including San Diego, Los Angeles and Alameda, according to CALmatters.
- Long before the law, however, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) began testing for lead, and now other districts are seeking LAUSD’s advice.
- In 2016, the district began the process of removing lead contamination from schools, but hundreds of water fountains will still need to be replaced, with the work expected to continue throughout the year.
Exposure to lead for a young child often goes undetected and can lead to a variety of physical and learning difficulties later in life, such as behavior problems, developmental delays, learning disabilities, and decreased bone and muscle growth. In addition, researchers in a 2015 study found that elevated blood lead levels in early childhood are associated with lower performance on standardized tests in 3rd and 4th grade. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no safe blood lead level in children.
While Flint, MI — where dangerous levels of lead in the water caused a state of emergency and led to lawsuits and criminal charges — is the most well-known example of a community affected by the issue, many others have also taken steps to identify and address contamination in school faucets and fountains. Experts also recommend ongoing testing to get accurate readings.
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