Unsafe levels of lead, pesticides and other types of toxins have been found in drinking water at thousands of schools across the United States over the last decade, according to an analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data by the Associated Press.
Toxic contamination of drinking water is most common in schools with wells, which account for up to 11 percent of the 132,500 schools in the country. About 20 percent of schools with their own water supply violated the Safe Drinking Water Act in the past decade.
The number of violations increased over that time because of stricter standards for such contaminants as arsenic and some disinfectants, the EPA told the AP. The EPA doesn't have the power to require drinking water testing for all schools.
"It's an outrage," Marc Edwards, an engineer at Virginia Tech who has been honored for his work on water quality, told the AP. "If a landlord doesn't tell a tenant about lead paint in an apartment, he can go to jail. But we have no system to make people follow the rules to keep school children safe?"