News Release


“Bruce Speight Act” would protect children from lead exposure

Environment Washington and WashPIRG testify in support of bill honoring former director, just months after his untimely death
For Immediate Release

For More Information:
Pam Clough, Environment Washington Interim Director, (215) 431-7104,
Nicole Walter, WashPIRG Campus Organizer, (626) 622-8761,

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The Washington State House will have an initial hearing today on a bill to get lead out of drinking water at schools. House Bill 1860 is named after Bruce Speight, the former Environment Washington state director and WashPIRG board member who passed away last year at the age of 45. Speight was one of the leading advocates on solving this environmental and public health issue, among many others, throughout his career.

Lead is a potent neurotoxin that affects how our children develop, learn and behave. The Bruce Speight Act would ensure that every drinking water outlet at every school in the state be tested for lead, and would require mitigation at every tap where the water contains 5 parts of lead per billion or more. The bill would also require parental notification when children are being exposed to lead in their school’s drinking water. 

Pam Clough, interim director of Environment Washington and Nicole Walter, campus organizer of sister organization WashPIRG, released the following statement in support of the legislation:

“Bruce Speight was a special person and we feel very fortunate to have known and worked with him. It’s especially heartening to see this bill, HB 1860 moving forward, in large part because of Bruce’s work. We thank Rep. Gerry Pollet -- a former WashPIRG executive director -- and others for championing this bill and for honoring Bruce’s contributions.

“This is undoubtedly an important step forward in our state and nationwide efforts to get lead out of school drinking water. But in honor of Bruce’s tough-minded advocacy, we need to push for even more stringent standards, because there’s no safe level of lead. Going forward, we recommend setting the action level at one part per billion, which is what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, not five.”

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