BOSTON (CBS) — Testing at more than 1,000 Massachusetts schools last week found that more than half had drinking water containing lead and/or copper at rates above the “action level.”
The testing program was overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. It was voluntary, and contains test results from more than 150 communities, but did not include all school districts in the state.
In a release, the MassDEP said that, in less than 10 percent of the cases where high lead content was found, schools were asked to shut off water fixtures and notify students, parents, and staff.
“We have a very dangerous situation here in Massachusetts,” Deirdre Cummings of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group told WBZ NewsRadio 1030. “Many of those children and the people who work in those schools, are exposed to–it could be low levels of lead, and in some cases, high levels of lead when they’re at school.”
She said over 64,000 taps were tested.
“When our kids are drinking out of that faucet or that bubbler, or when the kitchen is making pasta with the water from that faucet for the kids to serve at lunch, we want to make sure every time that that tap is pulled, it’s going to be clean drinking water,” Cummings said.
According to Mass.gov, the action level for lead in drinking water is 0.015 milligrams per liter or 15 parts per billion, and 1.3 milligrams per liter or 1.3 parts per million for copper.
“There’s no level of lead that is safe, and we should be clear about that,” Cummings said. “But the Academy of Pediatrics has actually come further and said that we ought not to allow anything in our drinking water at a level higher than one part per billion.”