Illinois schools to be tested for lead under Senate planA plan co-sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) requiring testing for lead in drinking water in Illinois schools passed the Senate today.

“Research has proven that no amount of lead exposure is safe for children, as even small amounts can have disastrous long-term health effects,” Hutchinson said. “If the situation in Flint, Michigan has taught us anything, it’s that we must take a proactive approach in preventing exposure before it’s too late.”

The proposal, contained in Senate Bill 550, requires schools and daycares constructed before 2000 to test water fountains and other potable drinking pipes for lead levels. If found to contain lead, the Illinois Department of Public Health will work with the school on how to properly mitigate the exposure risk for students.

Various efforts over the past 20 years have reduced the amount of Illinois children considered lead poisoned, from approximately 50,000 children in the 1990s to approximately 3,000 today. While these efforts have largely been successful, Illinois still has one of the highest lead exposure rates in the nation.

Senate Bill 550 passed the Senate today and now heads to the governor for his approval.

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