News

Lead Concerns Prompt Landmark Testing Legislation

  • Sep 20 2016

We commend the very recent landmark legislation by Governor Cuomo to test drinking water in New York schools for lead contamination.

Pursuant to this legislation, the NYS Department of Health immediately issued emergency regulations requiring that school districts test their water for lead contamination by Oct. 31, 2016 and that they report results to parents, the Department of Health and local government officials. These new regulations aim to reduce the risk of exposure to this toxic substance, and to ensure that all New York’s students have access to safe water within their schools.  New York will be the first State in the nation to complete lead testing in all school districts by the end of 2016.

Previously, schools in New York were not required to test their drinking water for lead, or to notify parents or government officials of results. Testing was voluntary and administered by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. This method of voluntary testing without enforceable standards has demonstrated the clear need for direction by New York State to its schools on when, what and how to sample drinking water for lead.

Testing is especially important considering that just a week after this legislation was enacted, the Albany Times Union reported that water from a Voorheesville Elementary School kitchen faucet that is used to fill water jugs in the cafeteria and for after-school programs was contaminated with high levels of lead. The newspaper further reports that the district is encouraging families to see their own primary doctors for blood testing and then be reimbursed by the school for the costs of the test.

The devastating impact of lead poisoning on young children can take years to appear because many problems are developmental in nature. Lead poisoned children can suffer from lowered IQ, behavioral problems and brain damage.  As the largest lead litigation group in upstate New York, we applaud this important step to help keep our school children safe from the devastating impact of lead poisoning.   Our attorneys have reviewed thousands of childhood and adult lead poisoning cases and are available as a resource to any families who are concerned about possible lead exposure.

Our attorneys have reviewed thousands of childhood and adult lead poisoning cases and are available as a resource to any families who are concerned about possible lead exposure.  Please contact attorney Kelly Mikullitz with questions: kmikullitz@oalaw.com or by phone at our Albany office (518) 462-5601.


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