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Oregon Lawmakers Advance Measure To Require School Lead Testing


Oregon lawmakers have advanced a measure to require hazard testing in public schools. This comes after lead in school drinking water hobbled Portland Public Schools in 2016.

Oregon lawmakers have advanced a measure to require hazard testing in public schools. This comes after lead in school drinking water hobbled Portland Public Schools in 2016.

Bradley W. Parks/OPB

Oregon lawmakers are moving ahead with a measure that would require school districts to test for lead.

Children are especially vulnerable to lead, which can harm the nervous system and development of the brain. The bill comes after lead was found in drinking water at several Portland area schools.

Some districts have already begun testing for lead. But Morgan Allen of the Oregon School Boards Association testified that the bill establishes standards for those tests. He said the labs that are accredited by the Oregon Health Authority don’t all operate under the same protocols.

“There was some confusion about how to test,” Allen said. “This bill will require the Health Authority to set down guidelines so that everybody is testing the same way, essentially.”

The bill would also require school districts to post the results of the tests online and email the information to parents. The measure advanced out of a budget subcommittee Friday.

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