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Reps. Speier, Kildee and Sens. Duckworth, Peters Introduce Legislation to Protect Military Families from Lead Exposure

April 11, 2019
Press Release

Bicameral Bills Would Improve Testing, Inspection for Lead in Drinking Water and Paint

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced a package of five bills to protect families from the threat of lead exposure in their homes and schools.

The legislation would:

  • Guarantee all children who are at risk of lead exposure are tested in compliance with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ best practices.
  • Require testing and mitigation for lead-based paint and lead in drinking water at schools operated by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).
  • Prevent the military from discouraging testing for lead-based paint in homes of military families funded by the DOD. 
  • Allow third party testing for lead-based paint in homes on military bases.
  • Ensure military leaders are following the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s regulations for inspecting lead-based paint in military homes.

“There is no safe level of lead. Every family in America should be able to trust that their home and drinking water is free from lead,” said Congressman Kildee. “My hometown of Flint, Michigan knows all too well the consequences of lead in drinking water. By expanding lead testing in homes and schools, our legislation better protects families and children living on military bases. I am proud to join Congresswoman Speier, Senator Duckworth and Senator Peters in introducing this important legislation,” said Congressman Kildee. 

“The military’s response to lead contamination in base housing and schools is appalling. Lead can cause developmental damage in children. This is not how any family should be treated but it’s even more egregious given the sacrifices their families undertake. Congress must act now, and I thank Congressman Kildee and Senator Duckworth for their leadership in ensuring that this issue is finally addressed,” said Congresswoman Speier, Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee.

“The brave men and women who serve in our military should not have to worry about whether they live in homes that put their families’ safety at risk and whether they’re sending their children to schools that have contaminated drinking water,” said Senator Duckworth. “This is a public health crisis and a serious threat to our military readiness that demands our immediate attention.”

“As we saw in Flint, lead exposure can result in serious and long-term developmental and health challenges – especially in children. No one – especially servicemembers or their families – should be forced to live in conditions that pose risks to their health,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I’m proud to join my colleagues to introduce legislation that will increase testing at military facilities for lead and help protect against the dangerous consequences of lead exposure.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no safe level of lead exposure in people. Lead exposure can lead to damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, and hearing and speech problems.

Each of the five House bills was introduced as a seperate piece of legislation. Copies of the bills can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

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