Schumer bill proposes lead-testing at daycare centers

Mar 24, 2016

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has unveiled proposed legislation that would fund lead-testing at daycare centers.  Schumer said his bill would help daycare centers and schools across the state to test drinking water for possible lead contamination. 

Inside a daycare center in Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News file photo

High lead levels were recently discovered in more than 60-samples taken at two New York schools.  At a news conference in New York City Wednesday Schumer pointed out that young children are most at risk.

"Because the younger a child is exposed to lead the more dangerous it is, and that's because, what does lead do, it slows down the development of the brain.  The younger the child is the more the brain has to develop and so what's been missing in this entire debate is a focus on daycare centers," said Schumer.

Schumer said testing in places were the youngest gather is 'crucial'. 

Sink water running.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“The discovery of lead in drinking water in Ithaca’s school’s revealed a gaping hole in our lead testing protocols: we do not require or support the testing for lead in our schools or daycare centers. And because our youngest children are most vulnerable to the pernicious and permanent impacts of lead poisoning, we must provide grants and guidance to schools that want to test so we can prevent catastrophic neurological damage before it happens,” said Schumer.

“It’s disturbing that Flint may have been just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to toxic lead in our kids’ drinking water. In the year 2016, parents should not have to wonder if their child will sip poisoned water at daycare or at school. This legislation solves that problem by providing grants to centers and schools that want to test their water—and most will want to because the effects of lead poisoning on our children’s bodies and brains is catastrophic and irreversible. This plan can help to ensure that every drop of water that comes from a daycare center or school’s faucet or fountain should be pure, safe and clean. This new legislation helps make that goal crystal clear.”

The Senator noted toxic, lead-based pipes were not banned until 1986 and older structures might have pipes made before that time that could contain lead. 

Schumer's bill would provide federal grants for daycare centers and schools in the state who want to test the water.