Rep. Jackson seeks greater protections for children from lead contamination

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INDIANAPOLIS – Schools and child care facilities across Indiana would be required to test drinking water for potential lead contamination under legislation that has been filed by State Rep. Carolyn B. Jackson (D-Hammond).

Preliminary Draft 4323, now eligible for consideration in the 2020 session of the Indiana General Assembly, would require testing for lead or copper in the drinking water of every school and public or private child care center in the state before January 2023. This testing requirement would be satisfied, however, if the facility already has tested for compliance with federal water standards since 2016.

According to the proposed legislation, if it is found that there is a presence of lead that is equal to or greater than the federal action level of 15 parts per billion, then the operators of that facility must take steps to correct the matter and reduce that number to safer levels.

“In recent times, there has been increased awareness of the problems being caused by disrepair and old age in these schools.” Jackson said. “There have been problems in both Hammond and East Chicago, and I am sure that is only the tip of the iceberg.

“What I am trying to do is make the testing program required, rather than voluntary,” Jackson added. “The Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) offers a program available to any FSSA recognized school or child care facility that covers the cost and training for conducting a lead test.

“Hoosier families should feel assured that where they send their kids has safe water. I do not think we should be compromising on the health of our children.”

For more information about how to apply for the voluntary Lead Sampling Program, you can visit IFA’s website. Applications for the program will be accepted until Jan. 17th.

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