IAPMO Commends Washington State Legislature for Passing HB 1139

ONTARIO, CA – IAPMO commends the Washington state legislature for passing HB 1139, a bill that requires the Washington Department of Health (DOH) to test drinking water outlets for lead contamination in public elementary and secondary schools. Government Jay Inslee signed the bill on Monday.

The Biden government recently announced a plan for the nationwide disposal of lead pipes, and HB 1139 is taking an extra step to support the reduction of lead in schools’ drinking water by mandating the repair or replacement of fixtures where high lead is found.

As stated in the bill, the DOH sampled and tested drinking water outlets in 551 primary schools between 2017 and 2020 and found that 82 percent of these schools had lead contamination of five or more parts per billion in one or more drinking water outlets. Furthermore, 49 percent of these schools had lead contamination of 15 or more parts per billion in one or more drinking water outlets.

“Children should not drink water while attending school with lead levels that lower their IQ and cause other health effects,” said Gerry Pollet, the bill’s lead sponsor. “IAPMO has provided critical technical support, such as information on how to use certified filters so that the Washington Legislature would pass HB 1139, which we hope will be a model for the nation.”

Lead contamination in drinking water poses serious health risks, and even low levels of lead exposure can cause permanent cognitive, academic and behavioral problems in children.

Neil Hartman, director of government affairs for the Washington State Association of the United Association of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States, Canada, said the The 2021 state legislative session showed how IAPMO and the UA, through the state association, are working together to pass meaningful legislation to improve the plumbing industry and protect public health.

Collaboration between IAPMO and the Washington State Association (WSA) of the UA was necessary for the successful approval of House Bill 1139, take action to tackle lead in drinking water, “he said.” IAPMO provided data and reach, and the UA’s WSA took the bill as a priority and raised the issue with our legislative contacts. The joint efforts of our two organizations underscored the need for HB 1139, and vital information on the science of lead filtration was handed over to lawmakers On two separate occasions, HB 1139 was blocked by opponents and appeared doomed to failure, with the exception of the efforts of IAMPO and the WSA. Working together, we can achieve great things for the plumbing industry, and HB 1139 can now be added to our long list of achievements. ”

An important aspect requires the DOH to develop a technical guideline for reducing lead levels in drinking water that is no less stringent than the federal EPA guidelines. The bill requires the technical guidelines to “include best practices for restoring elevated lead levels at drinking water outlets, including installing and maintaining filters certified by a body accredited by the American National Standards Institute.”

“As an ANSI accredited certification body, IAPMO supports the use of products that meet effective standards and can truly reduce lead in schools’ drinking water,” said Robyn Fischer, IAPMO’s Director of Government Relations. “We applaud the state for taking immediate action to protect children’s health by meeting HB 1139.”

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