August 31, 2018 Bill Kubota, Detroit Public Television’s One Detroit
Bottled water has replaced the drinking fountains in Detroit’s public schools as they opened this week.
The district feared possible lead in the water throughout the system after testing found elevated lead levels in 34 of its 106 schools.
Flint pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha told One Detroit’s Stephen Henderson on WDET’s Detroit Today radio program she applauds Detroit Schools for taking that step.
“This is a positive ripple effect of the Flint crisis,” she said, “It’s a recognition that we do have lead in our water and we do have lead in our water in our schools, not only in Flint but all over the state and all over this nation.”
Dr. Hanna-Attisha found herself at the center of the Flint water crisis in 2015 when she discovered elevated lead levels in schoolchildren.
She detailed her story in her book What the Eyes Don’t See, released in June this year.
Last month the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a survey about lead in the water in the nation’s schools following the events in Flint.
Of the school districts tested, 43 percent tested positive for lead. Of those, 37 percent found elevated levels and reduced or eliminated the problem.
The G.A.O. noted there is no federal law requiring the testing of drinking water in schools that receive water from public water systems.
Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency.
A change made to the Act in 2011 reduced the amount of allowable lead allowed in drinking water.
“These rules and regulations are not strong enough,” Dr. Hanna-Attisha said, “They have not caught up with the science, especially the science of lead where we now know there is no safe level.”