HARRISBURG, March 23, 2016 –State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana today introduced legislation that would give home buyers the option of requesting that a home be tested to determine what level of lead is in the water.

The Fontana bill (Senate Bill 1176) was part of a five-bill package aimed at protecting Pennsylvania children and families from the growing threat of lead poisoning caused by worsening levels of lead caused largely by old pipes and lead-based paints.
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“I was alarmed to learn that 18 Pennsylvania cities tested higher than Flint, Michigan for elevated blood levels,” Fontana said. “It’s a problematic issue that is compounded by our state’s aging infrastructure.”

As a realtor, Fontana said he introduced the bill because he believes homeowners should be aware of what they are buying and understand potential risks with the property.

“Just like we have put mechanisms in place to alert residents that a home may test positive for radon or lead-based paint because of its location or age, lead in water can be a safety concern — especially for families where a mother is pregnant, their unborn child, young children and even middle-age men and women,” the Brookline lawmaker said.

Fontana noted that lead testing typically runs from $20 to $50. He called it a “small price to pay for peace of mind that your home’s drinking water is safe.” Fontana added that if a home does test positive for high levels of lead, there are often in-home treatment systems available to remedy the situation.

Other bills in the legislative package include:

  • Senate Bill 1173 (Yudichak) would create a task force to study the scope of the lead issue, including an accounting of the age of the state’s housing stock, pipelines, school buildings and day care centers. It would also study best practices and make recommendations.
  • Senate Bill 1174 (Haywood) would require every school building to be tested (water, paint, soil) for lead before a school year begins. Test results would be sent to parents of every enrolled child and posted on school district websites. If a school tests at lead levels higher than the Centers for Disease Control’s acceptable amount, it would be required to submit a remediation plan to the state Department of Education.
  • Senate Bill 1175 (Kitchen) seeks to require lead testing (water, paint, soil) in day care centers licensed by the PA Department of Human Services. DHS would be prohibited from issuing a license to a day care operator if lead levels are higher than CDC recommended readings. And,
  • Senate Bill 1177 (Hughes) would create a “SuperFund for Lead Abatement” that could be used by schools, day care centers, and other organizations to defray lead remediation costs.

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