Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new report outlining a proposal—the Lead Exposure Activity Detection (LEAD) Innovation Fund—to reduce the prohibitive costs of testing for poisonous lead. Currently, nearly half of schools in the United States have not tested for the presence of lead in their drinking water within the past year—and of those schools that have tested, more than one-third detected elevated levels of lead. Young children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning, as their body, brain, and metabolism have not full developed.
At a cost of $25 million, the LEAD Innovation Fund would accelerate the development and commercialization of new technologies to detect the presence of lead by sponsoring a multistage competition for the development of inexpensive, hand-held lead-testing technologies of both water and other substances that would give immediate, reliable results.
“An underlying barrier to addressing the pressing problem of lead is the costs associated with finding out exactly how much of it is where,” said Read Holman
, a fellow at Public Lab. “This fund helps local public health officials currently grappling with this issue while helping give voice and power to the parents and concerned citizens currently lacking the ability to cheaply and reliably test their own homes.”
“With nearly half of schools not currently testing for excess levels of lead, our students’ health is at risk,” said Ulrich Boser, senior fellow for K-12 Education Policy at the Center for American Progress. “If we’re going to prevent the next crisis like the one we’ve seen in Flint, we must support the development of new technologies to detect the presence of lead.”
“We have witnessed the tragic impact lead contaminated water has had on entire communities when flawed testing occurs,” said Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA). “Despite required testing, lead poisoning still remains a risk in many parts of the country. This new proposal to help bring new lead testing to scale deserves careful attention from Congress. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and the Center for American Progress to spur technological advances that will help prevent children’s exposure to lead.”
Please click here to read “Get the Lead Out” by Ulrich Boser and Read Holman.
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