Texas gets failing grade in study about state's efforts to get lead out of schools' drinking water

A bill filed by Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins of San Antonio would require Texas school districts to take stronger action to ensure safe drinking water.

click to enlarge A 2017 study found that 71% of Texas schools tested had lead in water flowing from one or more of their taps. - Shutterstock / Littlekidmoment
Shutterstock / Littlekidmoment
A 2017 study found that 71% of Texas schools tested had lead in water flowing from one or more of their taps.
Texas has once again earned an "F" grade on an annual study looking at states' efforts to eliminate lead contamination in schools' drinking water.

The third edition of the Get the Lead Out report compiled by Environment Texas Research & Policy Center found that Texas failed to meet nearly every metric against which it was judged. One of 27 states to score the lowest letter grade, Texas has no law to address lead in schools’ drinking water. What's more, its existing state testing program is only voluntary, according to the report.

“We were disappointed to find that Texas is sitting at the back of the class for protecting students' drinking water,” Environment Texas Clean Water Advocate Michael Lewis said in an emailed statement. “School is for learning and playing — not a daily dose of lead-tainted water. Our kids deserve better.”

A 2017 analysis found that 71% of Texas schools tested had lead in water flowing from one or more of their taps.

Lead contamination in children can lead to learning disabilities, damage to the nervous system, impaired hearing and other health, growth and behavioral issues, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The report drops as State Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, D-San Antonio, has filed a bill in the Texas Legislature requiring school districts to take take stronger steps to mitigate lead contamination. House Bill 1123 would require schools to submit to regular testing and remediation if lead is detected in their drinking water.

"The presence of lead in school drinking water is detrimental to the health, safety, and learning outcomes of our students,” Gervin-Hawkins said in a statement. ”It is unacceptable for any amount of lead to exist in school drinking water, and I am working hard this session to ensure that our students are being provided with safe, lead-free water."

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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