MEC applauds bipartisan ‘Filter First’ legislation to protect children from lead in drinking water

Legislation introduced today by a bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers would protect children from exposure to toxic lead in drinking water by implementing a ‘Filter First” strategy in Michigan schools and daycare centers. The legislation would place filters at the point of use: both installing filtered faucets and water bottle filling stations and installing on-tap filters in sinks where water is used for human consumption, like school kitchens.

In addition to lead, carbon filtration has also been shown to be effective at filtering out long-chain PFAS.  Bill co-sponsors include Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint); Sen. Curt Vanderwall (R-Ludington); Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint) and Rep. Lynn Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids Township). Michigan Environmental Council released the following statement in support:

“We applaud this important bipartisan solution to the serious problem of lead and other toxins in school and daycare drinking water, and thank Senators Ananich and Vanderwall and Representatives Neeley and Afendoulis for introducing this essential legislation,” said Charlotte Jameson, Michigan Environmental Council program director for legislative affairs, energy and drinking water policy. “Protecting children's health is not a partisan issue. Water filters are effective, economical and long-term solutions that can give children clean, healthy water now.”

When lead, a harmful neurotoxin, leaches from plumbing fixtures into the drinking water of schools and daycare centers, it is a serious threat to the development of young bodies and minds. There is NO safe lead level for human exposure. 

The Filter First bill package -- SB 589 (Ananich), SB 590 (Vanderwall), HB 5104 (Neeley), and HB 5105 (Afendoulis) -- is a comprehensive strategy that includes filter replacement, verification testing, signage and clear direction to children and caretakers on safe drinking water sources, and transparency and communication with parents. The bills would also ensure that schools and daycares receive the necessary financial resources and technical support from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

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