CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE APPROVES BILLS TO PROTECT PHILADELPHIANS FROM LEAD EXPOSURE

In Blondell Reynolds Brown, Cindy Bass, Council News, Helen Gym, News by PHL Council

The three bills introduced by members Gym, Reynolds Brown, and Bass will strengthen water safety measures and lead testing for children and working class families

PHILADELPHIA—Today, the City Council Committee on Public Health and Human Services moved forward a package of three bills targeting the continuing threat of lead to the health and safety of our young people—especially in low-income communities.

The bills were introduced in June by Councilmembers Helen Gym (At Large, Chair of the Committee on Children and Youth), Cindy Bass (8th District, Chair of the Committee on Public Health and Human Services) and Blondell Reynolds Brown (At Large, Chair of the Committee on the Environment).

Two of the bills, focused on children and school students, would require that publicly-funded educational institutions meet strict water safety standards and that child care centers undergo lead testing in order to be licensed by the city. The third bill, designed to protect families from lead exposure, would update the existing Lead Paint Disclosure law to include the presence of lead water service lines.

Under the bill introduced by Councilwoman Bass, the current Lead Paint Disclosure law, which requires disclosure of lead risks to renters and purchasers of properties older than 1978, would be expanded to include the required disclosure of lead water service lines.

“We all know the dangers of lead. A major question moving forward is how do we find and commit necessary resources to solve this enormous challenge,” said Councilwoman Bass.

The school water safety bill, introduced by Councilmember Gym, would require schools to perform lead testing of water and require a City certification that all drinking outlets meet rigorous water quality standards. This testing would take place on a five-year cycle with school-level results made public within 10 days of testing.

“Lead poisons thousands of children and youth in Philadelphia every year. We have a responsibility to fight for these young people,” said Gym.  “We are establishing strong municipal standards to ensure that our schools are safe for our students.”

The bill requiring lead safety in family child day care facilities, introduced by Councilwoman Reynolds Brown, would mandate for the first time that family and group child care facilities be certified “lead safe” before being granted a license from the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

“For years, I have worked to keep our city’s youngest children safe by passing legislation to mitigate this health risk to our communities,” said Reynolds Brown. “No parent should ever have to worry that her child might be exposed to lead in child care. This bill is a win-win; it will ensure that no family child day care facility can open without first ensuring it is lead safe for children.”

The presence of lead in homes is often also a sign of greater substandard living conditions. To address access to safe housing for low-income Philadelphians, Council has also approved hearings on a range of landlord-tenant issues, including the potential for supporting tenants’ right to counsel in disputes with their landlords. The hearings are expected to take place in January.

Read Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown’s bill here: http://bit.ly/BRBLead2016

Read Councilwoman Helen Gym’s bill here: http://bit.ly/GymLead2016

Read Councilwoman Cindy Bass’s bill here: http://bit.ly/BassLead2016

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Councilwoman Cindy Bass represents the 8th Council District, which includes Germantown, Mt. Airy, Nicetown, Tioga, Chestnut Hill, portions of Logan, and West Oak Lane. She is Chair of Council’s committees on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and Public Health and Human Services. More info at phlcouncil.com/CindyBass

Watch the Hearing of the Committee on Public Health and Human Services here:

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