DENVER, CO – Governor Jared Polis today signed a bill to build a healthier Colorado by eliminating lead from drinking water in schools and childcare centers.
“Clean, lead-free drinking water in schools and childcare centers cuts down the risk of dangerous, lifelong impacts to children’s health and well-being,” said Rep. Emily Sirota, D-Denver. “Our law takes bold action to test for lead, replace fixtures and install updated equipment to ensure the drinking water consumed by kids in school or childcare centers is clean. Colorado’s youngest learners deserve clean water, and this law ensures facilities that care for children have appropriate and updated water filtration systems.”
“In far too many communities in Colorado, lead in drinking water at our schools is a problem, especially in disadvantaged regions of the state,” said Senator Faith Winter, D-Westminster. “No matter where you live, you should have clean water to drink. This law will equip us with better tools to detect unsafe drinking water in schools and daycare centers so that our kids know the water they drink is safe and healthy.”
“Every child should have clean water to drink, period,” said Senator Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora. “Unfortunately, far too many students face the threat of drinking water at school contaminated with lead, and that is simply unacceptable. This law takes important steps to ensure drinking water at schools is safe and clean, which will ultimately help improve health and educational outcomes for Colorado’s future leaders.”
HB22-1358, sponsored by Representative Emily Sirota and Senators Faith Winter and Rhonda Fields, would provide resources to school districts and childcare centers to install filters and clean water devices to eliminate lead children’s drinking water. The law provides school districts and child care centers $18 million to test for the presence of lead, and install clean sources of drinking water, such as faucet filters or bottle filling stations.
Many Colorado schools do not test for lead and do not know if their water is contaminated. Samples that have been taken have found elevated levels of lead in the drinking in Colorado schools. Elevated levels of lead in children’s blood leads to life-long damage, including memory loss, fatigue and learning challenges.