Lead-Free Schools

We’re working to ensure every single child in Washington has access to lead-free drinking water at school. (Photo: Fountain - jasongillman via pixabay CC0 Public Domain)

Every single child in Washington should have access to lead-free drinking water at school.

Events like the Flint water crisis have shocked people across the country and put a national spotlight on the problem of lead in drinking water. Yet despite this, Washington has been slow to ensure all children at school are fully protected from this danger. 

Lead is a highly toxic heavy metal that impairs how kids learn, grow, and behave. Even low levels of lead exposure can permanently damage children's brains, kidneys, and overall health. Put simply, there is no safe level of lead in water.

But in Washington, many school buildings were built using lead pipes and plumbing, back when we didn’t fully understand the danger. 

Now we do, and have banned the use of lead in new pipes and plumbing. But in the many schools which still have these old lead pipes or fixtures, lead can leach into the water that kids drink from fountains or bathroom sinks.

Our children shouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of bad decisions we made decades ago — that’s just not a trade-off we should be willing to make.

Unfortunately, Washington schools aren’t required to perform regular and comprehensive tests for lead in drinking water, or to replace the pipes if there’s a threat of lead exposure to our kids. 

This isn’t right. Our children deserve better than to have their health and safety put in jeopardy when they take a drink of water at school.

That’s why WashPIRG is calling on the state legislature to ensure every single child in Washington has access to lead-free drinking water at school. We are calling for mandatory testing, public results, and funding set aside to fix the problems where they exist. 

It's hard to imagine a more fundamental public health protection for our kids, and they depend on us to help keep them safe. Help us make sure we can live up to this promise as parents, as a community, and as Washingtonians.

Issue updates

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

Statement: FDA fails to fully protect kids from nicotine addiction

The Food and Drug Administration issued a policy today that would take many flavors of cartridge-based e-cigarettes such as Juul temporarily off the market due to their appeal to kids.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

Superbugs Unplugged: PIRG launches podcast about antibiotic resistance

Get ready for some alarming stories—and they're all the more alarming because they're true.

On Nov. 14, U.S. PIRG and the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) of George Washington University launched "Superbugs Unplugged," a podcast that will dive into the alarming issue of antibiotic resistance and how we can slow it. Matt Wellington, our Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics campaign director, is co-hosting the podcast, along with Dr. Lance Price of ARAC. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

CDC estimates at least 35,000 die from drug-resistant infections annually

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its new Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States report, which estimates at least 35,000 Americans die annually from infections that antibiotics can no longer effectively treat.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Chain Reaction V

The Chain Reaction V report grades the top fast food and fast casual chanins on antibiotic use policies for their beef supply chains. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

REPORT: Most Fast Food Chains Get Poor Grades for Overuse of Antibiotics in Beef

The fifth annual Chain Reaction report grades the top fast food and fast casual chains on antibiotic use in their beef supply chains. 

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Pages

News Release | US PIRG | Public Health

Statement: Chick-fil-A completes phasing antibiotics out of its chicken supply

In a big win for keeping antibiotics effective, Chick-fil-A announced today that it has officially met its 2014 goal of eliminating chicken raised with antibiotics from its supply chain and now serves No Antibiotics Ever(NAE) chicken in all 2,400+ of its U.S. restaurants.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

Statement: Proposal to take flavored vaping products off market a crucial tactic to stop youth epidemic

In response to growing concerns about the health threats of vaping and its skyrocketing use among youth, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today that the Food and Drug Administration is preparing to finalize guidance to prohibit the sale of all flavored e-cigarette products other than tobacco flavored.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

U.S. PIRG applauds Michigan for banning flavored e-cigarettes, urges other states to act

Michigan today became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

U.S. PIRG commends FDA on its proposed graphic warnings for cigarettes, urges increased action on e-cigarettes as a major health threat

The Food and Drug Administration proposed a rule today that would require new warnings for cigarette packages that depict the health risks of smoking. 

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News Release | WashPIRG Foundation | Public Health, Antibiotics

Consumer campaign calls on Wendy’s to “hold the antibiotics” from its beef supply chain

The consumer and public health advocacy organization WashPIRG Foundation is calling on Wendy’s to stop serving beef raised with the routine use of antibiotics. WashPIRG Foundation and its partner groups are calling on the third-largest burger chain in the United States to follow the lead of its rival, McDonald’s, which recently announced a detailed antibiotics policy for its beef supply chain.

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Pages

Report | WashPIRG Foundation | Public Health

Weak Medicine

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect more than 2 million people per year in the United States, causing more than 23,000 deaths. State governments, the FDA and other branches of the federal government should take steps to protect human health from the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can develop on factory farms.

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Report | WashPIRG Foundation | Public Health

Trouble in Toyland 2013

In this report, WashPIRG provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards.

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Pages

Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

Why does agribusiness keep overusing antibiotics? Consider 'Pig Zero.'

"Don't wait for Pig Zero," declared the poster, featuring a pig peeking through a giant blue zero, that appeared at last year's swine industry trade show.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Study finds weed killer in beer and wine

The last thing you want to think about when you pour yourself a glass of wine or a cold beer is whether it contains even small levels of a potentially carcinogenic weed killer.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Home Depot misses deadline to get toxic paint strippers off store shelves

Dozens of people have died. Yet in January, Home Depot was still selling the products that led to their deaths.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Consumer Protection

How safe is our food? Not safe enough, says PIRG Consumer Watchdog team, and it's trending in the wrong direction

Unsafe food recalls in the U.S. are trending the wrong way. From 2013 to 2017, they rose 10 percent overall, and a whopping 83 percent for the most hazardous meat and poultry recalls.

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Pages

Blog Post

It’s unconscionable that some of our most vulnerable populations and their caregivers are being put in such danger during a global pandemic. But it doesn’t have to be this way — not if our country acts right now to ramp up production and distribution of PPE to where it’s needed most.

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Whether you have a loved one currently in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility, or whether you’re shopping for one, you should arm yourself with a list of questions to gauge how safe the environment is. Here’s a guide to those questions, and the answers you should expect.

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Each week, we’ll be posting a round-up of short stories from across our network from staff experiencing various COVID-related issues, and what they did about them.

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To keep the sickest people alive during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we need ventilators. We don’t have them — and that says something about our priorities.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

A new investigation by ProPublica, along with reporting by numerous other outlets, has revealed that suppliers are using the COVID-19 public health emergency to drive up prices exorbitantly on medical equipment. 

Public Health

Economists call for states to shut down, contain coronavirus before reopening

Economists from leading universities have signed an open letter to decision-makers urging them to scale back reopening in states that fail to meet public health benchmarks, saying the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus will continue as long as the virus goes uncontained.

 

Public Health

Responding to the COVID crisis

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever, we need to work together to ensure that our government has a coordinated, strategic response to safeguard the public’s health, protect consumers from emerging dangers and ensure people can still participate fully in our democracy.

 

Public Health

Senate approves $15 million to study PFAS chemicals linked to cancer in drinking water

The U.S. Senate has passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes $15 million for studying PFAS in drinking water. Toxic PFAS chemicals have been linked to serious health problems such as cancer and liver damage. 

 

Public Health

States competing for PPE need federal coordination

U.S. PIRG and a coalition of leading public health and medical groups are urging U.S. senators to establish central, transparent coordination of the medical supply chain in the next coronavirus stimulus package in order to get medical supplies to the areas that need it most.

 
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