July 10, 2019

Duckworth, Kildee Re-Introduce Legislation to Help Protect Families from Lead-Contaminated Water


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (­­D-IL) and U.S. Representative Dan Kildee (D-MI) today announced the re-introduction of the National Opportunity for Lead Exposure Accountability and Deterrence (NO LEAD) Act to help ensure drinking water across our nation is safe from lead and copper contamination. The NO LEAD Act would update the Lead and Copper Rule, lowering the lead action level from 15 parts per billion (ppb) currently, to 10 ppb by 2020 and 5 ppb by 2026. The bill would also create a lead-service-line inventory to help monitor contaminated service lines and ensure the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) develops a universal testing protocol to make sure the entire lead service line is replaced if water contamination is detected. Partial replacement does not eliminate the risk of contamination. Duckworth is the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water and Kildee is the Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus.

“When families send their children to school or turn on their faucet at home, they should not have to worry about their drinking water being contaminated with a dangerous neurotoxin like lead.” Duckworth said. “The threat of contaminated water is a national public health crisis in cities across the nation—including in Chicago, University Park, Carbondale, Galesburg and East St. Louis, Illinois—and we have to do more to stop it. I will keep working to ensure every family in America – no matter where they live – has access to clean and safe drinking water, and I’m proud to introduce this bill with Congressman Kildee to better protect our children from lead-contaminated water.”

“The Lead and Copper Rule is outdated, putting children and families across the country at risk,” said Kildee. “My hometown of Flint knows all too well the consequences of failing to protect our families from lead in our water and we must prevent a similar man-made crisis from happening elsewhere. I am proud to introduce the NO LEAD Act with Senator Duckworth and update the Lead and Copper Rule to better protect public health and restore public confidence in their water systems.”

The NO LEAD Act would also help guide the EPA review of the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) to make lead testing reports more comprehensive and ensure reports are easily available to the public, serving to make clean drinking water more accessible and strengthen education on lead contamination.

Duckworth has been a strong advocate of strengthening protections against lead poisoning and other toxins and she was a harsh critic of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s failure to combat lead poisoning while he was in office, grilling him at committee hearings over his refusal to protect American children and families from contaminated water. She also joined forces with U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tom Carper (D-DE) to create the Senate’s first-ever Environmental Justice Caucus to raise awareness of the many environmental and pollution issues that have created public health challenges, which disproportionately impact low income communities and communities of color, including lead poisoning. Duckworth has also been critical of the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back drinking water protections and vocal about the need to strengthen initiatives to prevent lead contamination. 

Duckworth and Kildee have introduced several pieces of legislation together to remove lead from America’s drinking water supplies, including the Get the Lead out of Military Housing Act, which would protect military families from the threat of lead poisoning in their homes and schools by improving testing and inspection for lead.  Key portions of this bill were included in this year’s Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).