Understanding Missouri's Get the Lead Out Act
State of Missouri residents have reason to be concerned about lead poisoning. It has some of the most lead water pipes per capita in the United States. Over 80% of children in Missouri have detectable levels of lead in their blood. Almost 20% of those levels were found to be clinically dangerous. Missouri continues to be the number one producer of lead in the nation.
The dangers of lead are severe and significant.
Lead is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the earth’s crust. Lead can be found in the air, soil, water and even inside homes, schools, and businesses. Most of our exposure comes from human activity from use in items such as paint, ceramics, pipes and plumbing materials, gasoline, batteries, cosmetics, and more. It wasn’t until the late 20th century that scientists rang the alarm warning of its toxicity.
Lead can affect almost every organ and system in your body. Children, especially those six years old and younger, are most susceptible to the effects of lead. Children with lead poisoning can have behavior and learning problems including lower IQ and hyperactivity. Other issues include slowed physical growth, hearing issues, and anemia.
The science now makes clear that there is no safe level of lead exposure for children. So, to ensure safe drinking water, the federal government identified the need for policies at the state and local level that are strong enough to “get the lead out” at schools and pre-schools.
Get the Lead Out Act
Under a nationwide initiative from the Biden-Harris administration, Missouri legislators passed the “Get the Lead Out Act” in August 2022. State senators and representatives enacted this statute to require schools in Missouri to identify drinking water sources on school property, test for lead, and install filtration systems if lead contamination is identified.
The Get the Lead Out Act provides specific guidelines on which educational institutions are required to comply, what levels of lead are acceptable, and who needs to be informed about testing and mitigation plans. It also details a timeline for compliance. The carefully devised action aims to not only test and remove lead from school drinking water, but also to proactively prevent future contamination while educating school employees and parents about the dangers of lead exposure from all sources.
Frequently Asked Questions:
One of the first steps schools must take to comply with this statute is inventory every source of drinking water. Drinking water outlets are defined as “a potable water fixture that is used for drinking or food preparation including but not limited to water fountains, faucets or taps that use or potentially use for drinking or food preparation; and ice-making and hot drink machines.”
All drinking water tested from schools must contain lead levels below 1 part per billion (BPP).
The water tested is referred to as the “first draw," a two hundred fifty-milliliter sample immediately collected from a drinking water outlet. It is only turned on after a stagnation period of at least eight hours.
Inventory of drinking water outlets and testing for lead must take place in the 2023-2024 academic year. Inventory and testing must be completed no later than January 1, 2024. If lead is found, schools have until August 2024 to become compliant with lead levels under 1 part per billion.
A certified lead inspector or licensed blood risk assessor can perform lead testing. St. John Environmental Consulting is ready to provide your educational institution professional lead testing service.
Why should you choose St. John Environmental Consulting for lead testing in your St. Louis school?
St. John Environmental Consulting is a leading provider of lead testing services in St. Louis and surrounding communities. We are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality of service. Our team of experienced professionals is certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We use the latest technology to ensure that our results are accurate and reliable.