1 in 4 California Youngster Care Facilities Has Unsafe Ranges of Lead in Consuming Water, First Necessary Testing Finds

Under the law, the state would require all facilities whose water exceeds the 5 ppb limit to reduce lead to as close to zero as possible.

Daycare standards are higher than those in elementary, middle, and high schools, where not every faucet needs to be tested, faucets replaced, or parents notified unless lead levels exceed 15 ppb.

Rep. Chris Holden, the author of AB 2370, introduced legislation this year that would require schools to meet the same standards as day care centers.

“By aligning lead testing standards in childcare and schools, we can protect children from the toxic effects of lead,” Holden said in a statement.

Day care centers had a two-year window to have their drinking water tested for lead contamination. But so far, months after the deadline, only about half of the 14,500 tests required have been reported, according to EWG’s analysis. It’s unclear how many daycares haven’t yet tested their water for lead, or if their results haven’t been reported by labs.

Little said she expects the number of facilities with harmful lead exposure to increase as more testing results become available.

“It seems like this is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said, pointing out that licensed family child care homes in California, which have more day care centers, aren’t even required to test their water for lead.

Little advises parents sending their children to family children’s homes to encourage their providers to install newer faucets and lead-removing filters.

Parents sending their children to a center can search the EWG’s database for lead level results (PDF) and urge them to test their water if results from that facility are missing.

If the facility is found to have an unsafe level of lead in water, Little recommends parents check with providers for details on what they have done to lower that level.

Kumiko Inui, principal at San Francisco’s ABC preschool, whose lead levels scored the fourth-highest in the study, said the result was due to an outdoor sink that hadn’t been used in years and has since been turned off. However, she said other facilities at the bilingual Japanese-English preschool were below 5 ppb and that the school uses a filter in its kitchen sink and provides bottled water for students.

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