Following an update to federal standards on lead and copper exposure, Texas is about to start a program to test drinking water in thousands of elementary schools and child care facilities throughout the State.

This will actually be the first time in Texas that around 25,000 schools and child care facilities will have their water inspected for lead and copper. Previously Texas did not have any requirements for testing.

Toby Baker, executive director for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality stated...”at times the agency assisted school districts in testing water in the past, but only if the school district requested help.”

Now, over the next several years the agency will oversee testing tens of thousands of water systems that serve children throughout the state.

This means that Texas parents and guardians will be able to get reliable information as to the safety of the water in their child’s school or care facility. It will take time and money to correct any problems discovered through testing, details the state is still working out.

Experts say that testing water and correcting lead levels can be an expensive and time-intensive task because the problem is so widespread and can occur from many different sources, particularly in complex facilities like schools. Lead usually enters drinking water through lead-based pipes or plumbing which were used for decades before being banned in the 1980s.

According to the EPA, young children are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of lead poisoning on the brain and nervous system. Lead exposure in children is known to cause slowed growth, behavior and learning problems, difficulty hearing and lower IQs.

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