Proposed bill would require Florida schools to test drinking water for lead

Proposed bill would require Florida Schools to test drinking water for lead

SARASOTA (WWSB) -A Florida State Senator is proposing a bill to make drinking water safer for school children.

Senator Lauren Book's proposal would require Florida schools built before 1986 to test and filter drinking water. 1986 is the year congress outlawed lead pipes in new construction nationwide.

As of right now the state doesn't require any lead testing. Sarasota County Schools started testing for lead this October, and Manatee County Schools test their well water every five years.

Exposure to lead through drinking water can have devastating health effects in people of all ages, but especially for children.

Pediatrician, Dr. Ashfaq Fatmi, said lead can damage the brain, delaying development, taking away the ability to focus, and possibly leading to anemia.

Dr. Fatmi also said the effects of lead exposure don't show up right away, "Symptoms appear very late when the level goes up to a toxic level, so we cannot wait until then because the damage will be irreversible."

That's why Florida State Senator Lauren Book is proposing this bill, to identify bad water before it can do too much damage. The bill would create a system to test, monitor and filter drinking water in schools built before 1986.

One local Florida parent said this would be a good idea.

"If there's any question of whether or not the water has lead in it, it seems to me like a no-brainer, test the water in the schools, it's easy to do," said Florida Parent Marty Spector.

Dr.Fatmi said he believes this bill could protect children from lead poisoning.

"If you fix the source, then everything will be fixed," Dr. Fatmi said.

Sarasota County School District said they are waiting for their first test results to come back.

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