SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued $6,137,000 in grants to assist the California Department of Social Services with identifying sources of lead in drinking water in childcare centers.
“Testing for lead in drinking water is critical for the protection of our children,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “EPA is pleased to support California in its efforts to detect and reduce lead in drinking water, thereby protecting children's health at childcare centers and elsewhere.”
The State of California has been proactive in testing drinking water for lead in childcare centers. In 2018, California’s Legislature passed AB2370, expanding the state’s lead testing program to require testing of more than 15,000 childcare centers serving over 800,000 children; EPA’s funding will support testing at these childcare centers.
“CDSS is excited about this opportunity to continue to support the overall health and safety of children in California,” said Pam Dickfoss, Deputy Director of Community Care Licensing at the California Department of Social Services. California will use the EPA’s 3Ts (Training, Testing, and Taking Action) for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water guidance and its strategic partnerships to implement its program, with the goal of reducing lead exposure at these centers by testing for lead, identifying potential lead sources, and taking action. Additionally, the state and its partner organizations will provide education to parents on the risks and effects of lead exposure, blood lead testing recommendations and requirements, and options for obtaining blood lead testing.
The EPA grant provides funds for testing drinking water lead levels, for development of Corrective Action Plans, and for the provision of technical assistance to childcare centers that need remediation for lead in their drinking water.
Under EPA’s Voluntary Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care grant program, EPA has awarded $43.7 million in grants nationwide to fund testing for lead in drinking water at schools and childcare programs in states, territories and the District of Columbia.