As the school year is underway across Pennsylvania, local leaders are concerned about students’ health. More importantly what they’re putting in their bodies.

“This is across the Commonwealth. This is a rural problem this is an urban problem,” said Stephanie Wein, Clean Water Advocate, for PennEnvironment.

PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center released its third edition of the “Get the Lead Out” report and Pennsylvania received an “F”.

“We want to make sure that the public understands that safe drinking water for our students and our educators across Pennsylvania should be at the top of everybody’s list. This is not a partisan issue, this is we’re talking about safety for our students,” Jeff Nye, Vice President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association.

The grade was based on the PA’s state policies aimed at stopping and preventing lead contamination of schools’ drinking water. Something that has been an issue for years and now is the time to fix it.

“What we want to do is make sure that we’re getting lead-certified filters installed in schools that likely have led in the pipes. Which is most schools you know built before 2014 and that way we don’t even need to worry if we caught it on that one day that we’re testing it putting a filter in place gives us that piece of mind,” said Wein.

The plan is to create a policy for adding filtration systems in every school, but the longer it takes…the longer children and school staff could be at risk.

“It’s been particularly egregious for younger children the damage from it is irreversible and they do not have any policy in place to even test for it let alone remediate it,” said Arthur G. Steinberg, president, AFT Pennsylvania.

According to a 2021 report by Women for a Healthy Environment, out of 65 Pennsylvania school districts tested 91% of those found lead in their water something they hope to change.