Schools in New York state will be required to test their drinking water for lead contamination under a new measure signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
School districts will report the results to parents as well as local and state officials. Buildings found to have high levels of lead will have to develop and implement plans to fix the problem.
"These rigorous new protections for New York's children include the toughest lead contamination testing standards in the nation, and provide clear guidance to schools on when and how they should test their water," said Cuomo, a Democrat.
Elementary schools must complete the tests by the end of this month. Schools for older children have until the end of October. Schools must cut off any water source with lead levels above 15 parts per billion and provide another supply. New tests will occur every five years or on a schedule worked out by the state's health commissioner.
Schools that can show they've already conducted tests can get waivers.
Lead exposure can cause significant neurological impairments in children.
The mandate will make New York the first state in the nation to complete statewide inspections, according to Cuomo's office.
(c)2016 the Niagara Gazette (Niagara Falls, N.Y.)