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Karen Showalter's picture
What young kid hasn't splashed herself in the face trying to drink from a water fountain? My two-year old always misfires just a bit when trying to get a drink, often leaving both of us chuckling. But I love that she drinks water, and she does too.
Indeed we've made lots of progress when it comes to getting our kids healthy water. Water is part of the new healthy school meal standards, and many schools and districts are exploring how to make it the default drink of choice for our kids. 
Helping kids build healthy habits by way of the occassional splash in the face? I'm all for it. But having our kids drink water from unsafe pipes? That makes me mad. And hearing that doing so is causing long-term and devastating health effects? That makes me want to take action. 
Indeed too many kids are exposed the dangerous levels of lead in homes, schools and cities across the country. Lead is in water, soil and lead-based paint. In fact, over 4 million children live in households where they're exposed to high levels of lead. [1]
In fact, only about 10% of schools and day care centers are required to test for lead. A recent study of those that do test found alarmingly high levels of lead in schools in 42 states, including Pennsylvania, where I live and my two young kids attend school. [2]

Lead exposure can be pervasive and have long-lasting medical and developmental implications for our children. It can damage the nervous system, cause developmental delays, contribute to learning and behavioral problems, and more. [3]

Yes, you can and should limit your child's exposure to lead. Test paint in houses built before 1978, stay clear of older homes undergoing renovations, don't wear shoes in the house (they could bring in lead-tainted soil), and more. Check out some helpful tips on the CDC's website
But there's also a very clear role we need our government and leaders to play, too.
Thousands of parents spoke out in support of the people of Flint earlier this year. That crisis shed a light on the severity of lead poisoning in particular, as well as the urgency of taking action quickly. And it's not just Flint. Reports are sharing information about lead exposure in Texas, New York, California, Florida, and more. Half a million children in the US ages 1-5 have unsafe blood levels requiring medical attention. [1]
Although we're *still* pushing for concrete financial support for Flint from the U.S. Congress, there's some hope. New efforts on Capitol Hill propose significant steps to improve infrastructure, require testing and reporting, upgrade public drinking water systems, assist those affected by lead poisoning, and make ALL our schools and homes safe for kids and families. 
Please join us in demanding swift action around lead. We're sending the following to Members of Congress, and need your support ->
Dear Member of Congress:
I call on you to take urgent action around lead. The CDC estimates there are half a million children ages 1-5 with elevated blood lead levels in the U.S. Lead is not safe for children at any level. Even trace amounts can cause irreversible damage to a child’s brain development and nervous system.
The lead poisoning of many children and families in Flint, Michigan is outrageous and unacceptable. And it's not just Flint: Reports show that lead contamination affects many of our schools and communities. 
Please act swiftly to pass measures that will provide funding to improve infrastructure, require testing and reporting, assist those affected by lead poisoning, and make sure our schools and homes are safe for kids and families.
Thank you.  
Please add your name today! Together, we can demand that all of our kids have access to safe water, schools and communities. 
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