This Brief summarizes select characteristics of state-level policies and programs to test for lead in school drinking water. It is based on a study from researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and the University of California Nutrition Policy Institute. The full results of the study, study methods, and state profiles are available through Harvard. Researchers found that many students in the U.S. attend public schools in states where not all taps are tested for lead. Currently, there is no uniformity in states’ approaches to create and oversee programs to test for elevated lead in school drinking water. In states where water was testing and data were publicly available, nearly half of the schools identified one or more water source with elevated levels of lead. Ongoing monitoring and standardized practices for testing water are needed, and financial and technical assistance could help support more states in adopting recommended programs and practices to limit lead exposure in school drinking water.
State Policies on Testing Drinking Water for Lead in U.S. Schools
Early Adopters: Current Practices and Preliminary Findings in States Adopting School-Based Water Quality Testing Programs
The goals of this project are: 1) to provide a descriptive assessment of the current methodologies used in state-based school water quality testing programs compared to recommended standard surveillance elements; and 2) to summarize water lead content data derived from state testing programs and present and evaluate data by school … More
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law on December 10, 2015, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA created an opportunity to broaden accountability beyond traditional subjects, such as math, to potentially focus on health and wellness in schools. States could select health and … More
More than 21.8 million school-age children receive free or reduced-price school lunch and 12.6 million children receive free or reduced-price breakfast each day. Since updated nutrition standards for school meals, snack foods, and beverages have been implemented following passage of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a growing body of … More