Lead-free drinking water for kids closer to reality after Senate vote

Every Michigan child attending school or childcare centers—over 1.4 million—could soon drink lead-free water.

With 35-1 votes, "Filter First" bills passed out of the Michigan Senate on Tuesday and now head to the House.

Senate Bills 184 and 185 require all childcare centers and schools to install filtered drinking water devices, test the filtered water regularly, and to communicate with families about the improved water quality. The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Curtis VanderWall (R-Ludington) and Sen. Jim Ananich (D-Flint).

Fifty million dollars in funding for water filter devices has already been set aside in the $5 billion supplemental state budget passed with near-unanimous support in March.

"No amount of lead is safe for children," said Charlotte Jameson, chief policy officer for the Michigan Environmental Council. "Lead poisoning can stunt development, make learning difficult, and physically sicken. We commend the Michigan Senate for recognizing these dangers and supporting the best solution to them. Filters eliminate the threat of lead in children's drinking water, helping them thrive now and far into the future."

Research by NRDC shows that eliminating the threat of lead through filters is more immediate and cost-effective than testing entire water systems for lead and replacing them. Both schools new and old can benefit, as even water systems marketed as "lead free" can be prone to lead leaching. 

If the Filter First bills become law, Michigan will become the first state in the nation to implement a "filter first" water program.

Click here to see the 40-member coalition working to see the Filter First policy through. Contact Beau Brockett (below) for water filter photos.

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  • Beau Brockett
    published this page in News 2022-09-20 12:32:05 -0400