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New report highlights need to reduce lead in drinking water in child care centers

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A new report is calling for more to be done to improve drinking water quality at the nation’s child care centers.

The Environmental Defense Fund tested water samples from child day care facilities in four states, including Michigan. 

Researcher Lindsay McCormick says they found most samples contained very low levels of lead. But she says many centers did have one or more sources which exposed children to lead levels above their action level which is a concern.  

“Children who are at child care facilities tend to be younger and more vulnerable to the harmful effects of lead, as their brain is still developing,” says McCormick.

The EDF is recommending that child care centers:

Replace lead service lines in child care facilities when found through review of historical records and visual inspection. Require testing for lead in water in child care facilities to identify sources of lead. Set an interim action level of 5 ppb to investigate and remediate lead sources Strengthen the NSF International 5 ppb leachability standard to reduce lead in new brass fixtures.

“Much of the recent national attention on lead in drinking water has focused on in schools," said Sarah Vogel, Vice President of Health at EDF.  "That’s very important, but children under the age of six are most vulnerable to the detrimental impacts of lead. With over 4 million children under five years old in child care facilities across the country, it is crucial that these facilities test their drinking water and, when necessary, take action.” 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.