Kucinich Secures Victory for Northeast Ohio Children That Would Fund Lead Removal From Schools
WASHINGTON - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today won a victory to ensure that money will be available for schools to remove sources of lead in drinking water. His legislative language was included in a committee amendment to H.R. 2187, the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act. Congressman Kucinich is a member of the Education and Labor Committee that passed the legislation today.
Schools in cities with older infrastructure, like Cleveland, are in special need of attention because their plumbing may still contain lead. However, newer buildings also contain potential sources of lead, including solder, pipe fittings, faucets, valves, meters, and any fixtures containing brass. The longer water remains in contact with lead plumbing, the more likely the lead can enter the water. That means that facilities with on again/off again water patterns, such as schools, are at a much greater risk of water contamination.
"Schools in Northeast Ohio have old infrastructure. When this legislation passes those schools will be able to secure funding to update their plumbing systems and remove the risk of lead contamination," added Kucinich.
Lead poisoning remains a serious concern both nationally and in Cleveland. In 2007, over 22% of children tested were found to have an elevated blood lead levels, according to the City of Cleveland. Children are particularly sensitive to lead contamination. Their bodies are developing and growing and absorb more lead than an adult body. Even at low levels of lead exposure, children can experience reduced I.Q., impaired learning and language skills, hearing loss, problems with attention span, and aggressive behavior that studies have linked to a higher likelihood of criminal activity. At greater levels, lead poisoning can also damage the brain and central nervous systems, interfering with learning and physical growth.