Our Report Calls on NY to Get More Lead Out of School Drinking Water

We are excited to release our new report “5 is the New 15 about how strengthening the 2016 Safe School Drinking Water Act could protect more students and staff from lead exposure in school drinking water. At our press conference to release the report, we urged the State to reduce the action level for lead in public school drinking water from 15 parts per billion (ppb) to 5 ppb which would make New York’s the biggest state with the most protective health standard in the nation. It would also bring us closer to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of less than 1 ppb. 

We were joined by New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, and representatives from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Healthy Schools Network, Natural Resources Defense Council, and WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Senator Rivera and Assemblymember Gottfried recently submitted legislation to strengthen the law (S. 2122 / A. 160).  

In addition to lowering the lead action level, the report recommends increasing testing frequency for lead in public school drinking water, guaranteeing no-cost tap water, removing the possibility of exemption from testing, ensuring laboratory reports are disclosed publicly, and enforcing training for sample collectors. 

An analysis of lab reports from 90% of all NYS public school districts that were tested in  2016  found that an additional 63,428 drinking water outlets, or 17.2%, currently in use would need remediation under a more protective standard of 5 ppb compared to the current action level of 15 ppb. View maps of top school districts of concern by state and by region.

Children spend much of their time in school and the levels of lead in school drinking fixtures present an alarming problem, as many schools have older plumbing fixtures that contain large amounts of lead. Lead poisoning can affect almost every organ and system in the human body, causing irreversible damage, and babies and young children are particularly at risk. 

All young children deserve a safe learning environment. It’s time to reevaluate our current law to protect kids and improve schools for the future. We are committed to working with Governor Cuomo, Senator Rivera, Assemblymember Gottfried, our partners and all our elected officials to make significant improvements to our school drinking water.

< Back to Our Issues

Related Articles

It’s time to get on the all-electric bus. We are thrilled to see the first application period open up for the Bond Act-funded New York School Bus Incentive Program, and we strongly urge all school districts to apply and begin the process of transitioning their school bus fleets to electric. The mandate to make all…

NYLCV is applying to NYSERDA’s Clean Transportation Prize to continue our work on electrifying school buses. We are working with NYCSBUS, a nonprofit that owns 10% of the buses in NYC, to help deploy and scale electric bus fleets in the City. The goal is to create the first (of hopefully many!) depots in the…

On Wednesday, March 2nd, NYLCV held a ride and drive event for New York State Legislators with some electric school bus manufacturers. Electric school buses from Blue Bird, Lion Electric Company, and a retrofitted diesel to electric school bus done by Unique Electric Solutions and operated by Logan Bus Company, all made the trip to…

Last year the NYC Clean School Bus Coalition stayed busy on the advocacy front, accomplishing their biggest goal when Intro-455A passed in the fall. Now, with a citywide mandate for all school buses to be electric by 2035, the coalition is shifting it’s work to focus on the next five years.  The agenda highlights goals…

How does New York stack up when it comes to electric vehicles? Read our fact-sheet on the State of EVs in New York, part of our Plug It In, NY campaign.

Electric vehicles have many advantages over gasoline-powered cars including better fuel economy, lower maintenance costs, zero emissions, and less pollution. Thinking of going electric? Check out our fact sheet on buying EVs, part of our Plug It In, NY campaign.

As part of our public awareness campaign on electric vehicles, Plug It In, NY, we released the fourth in our series of fact sheets. This one focuses on the costs, incentives, and funding opportunities associated with purchasing and owning an EV.

NYC Clean School Bus Coalition We formed a new coalition in October 2020 to fight for zero-emission school buses in New York City, and to ensure that Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to electrification is upheld. Read the announcement here and visit the coalition website here.   BIG NEWS: All School Buses In NYC Will Be…

We are excited to publish our inaugural Annual Report so that we can provide a progress report on our advocacy, programmatic, and development goals.

Get Involved

THANK YOU TO OUR CORPORATE PARTNERS