September 25, 2018

Duckworth, Young, Kildee Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Families from Lead in Federally Assisted Housing


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN) and Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) today introduced bipartisan legislation to protect families living in assisted housing from lead found in drinking water. The Get the Lead Out of Assisted Housing Act of 2018 would help protect families from lead exposure by requiring the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to inspect for lead service lines, create a grant program to address lead contamination, and allow a cross-check for lead in water when remediating a home for lead found in paint.

“It’s unacceptable that families who are trying to get ahead can get sick by drinking water in their own homes because the requirements to check for lead in water aren’t in place to protect them,” Duckworth said. “The threat of lead in drinking water is a national public health crisis 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.”

“No one should have to worry about the safety of their drinking water, but families are facing the threat of lead contamination in their homes and communities,” Young said. “Our bipartisan legislation requires HUD to identify and address lead contamination at the source. This must happen to protect the health of Hoosier families and communities across the country.” 

“My hometown of Flint knows all too well the consequences of lead in drinking water,” said Kildee. “There is no safe level of lead and families across the country should be able to trust that the drinking water in their homes is safe. This bipartisan bill would expand the way our country protects families from lead poisoning by requiring water testing for the first time in assisted housing. Clean drinking water is not a partisan issue and I’m proud to work with Senator Duckworth and Senator Young on this important legislation.”

The Get the Lead out of Assisted Housing Act of 2018 would help protect families from lead exposure by:

  • Requiring the Secretary of HUD to update the Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) to include inspecting for lead in service lines and lead in plumbing.
  • Creating a Healthy Homes Lead in Drinking Water Grant pilot program to provide grants to states and local governments responsible for developing consolidated plans for community development. These funds would be used to identify the threats posed by lead in drinking water and take steps to protect residents. Activities under this grant program include creating a lead service line inventory, testing for lead in the drinking water at child care centers and schools, testing for lead at public facilities like public water fountains, and remediation.
  • Including testing, notification, and controlling for lead in drinking water when providing grants for the lead-based paint hazard reduction program. This will ensure that when a home that contains lead-based paint is being remediated, that lead in the drinking water can also be addressed if a threat exists in the same home.
  • Ensuring HUD has the authority it needs to address lead contamination from water, air, or industrial sources in consultation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Duckworth has been an advocate for environmental protections in the Senate and has been outspoken about the need to reduce human exposure to toxic poisons like lead. In 2017, she introduced the Get the Lead Out of Schools Act, along with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), to ensure periodic testing for lead contamination in drinking water at schools while also providing schools with additional resources to monitor lead levels and replace outdated water infrastructure systems. Duckworth and Kildee introduced the NO LEAD Act of 2017 to protect clean drinking water by making lead testing reports more comprehensive and ensure they are easily available to the public. She has also helped introduce legislation to authorize more than $1 billion in federal funding to help small and disadvantaged communities replace contaminated water infrastructure and recently wrote, along with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), to several Trump Administration cabinet officials asking the President’s interagency task force on lead exposure to develop a comprehensive strategy to eliminate childhood lead poisoning.

The Get the Lead Out of Assisted Housing Act of 2018 is endorsed by All Chicago, Erie Family Health Care, Green and Healthy Homes, Health Justices Innovations LLC, Housing Action Illinois, Illinois Primary Health Care Association, National Center for Healthy Homes, National Housing Law Project, and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.