New law protects children from lead

This week Senate Bill 550 was signed into law, establishing additional standards to further protect Illinois children from possible exposure to lead in drinking water.

Senate Bill 550 will ensure proper health protections are in place to protect Illinois’ youngest residents from lead ingestion. The new law provides schools and daycares to sample for lead contamination from sources of potable water in school buildings. 

The oldest school buildings, those constructed before January 1, 1987, must complete water testing by the end of 2017. Schools constructed between January 2, 1987 and January 1, 2000 must complete testing by the end of 2018. Daycares constructed on or before January 1, 2000 and serve children under the age of 6 will also be required to conduct testing. Further, parents and guardians of students must be notified of elevated lead results.

“This legislation, along with the enhancements Illinois EPA has proactively implemented with community water supplies over the last year, is an important step towards eliminating the risk of lead exposure to our most vulnerable citizens, Illinois’ children,” said Illinois EPA Acting Director Alec Messina.

“Elevated levels of lead in children can cause developmental and behavioral disabilities,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “We have made great progress in reducing the number of children with elevated levels and we will continue to work to protect one of our most vulnerable populations.”

The legislation is the product of a lengthy stakeholder process including the Illinois EPA, Department of Public Health and Department of Children and Family Services, the Illinois Environmental Council as well as representatives from numerous organizations.

Want to stay up to date with your Senator?

Sign up for the District E-Newsletter below: