WASHINGTON — The House approved legislation Wednesday to help reduce lead contamination in drinking water, especially that available to children, and to require the recall of some water coolers.
The bill was passed on a voice vote and sent to the Senate.
Rep. Gerry Sikorski (D-Minn.) said one child in 11 under the age of 6 has blood lead levels above acceptable standards.
"Letting your kid drink from one of these coolers is like handing him a glass of lead Kool-Aid," Sikorski said.
The bill would order the Consumer Product Safety Commission to tell makers and importers of water coolers with lead or lead-lined reservoir tanks to repair, replace or recall them and provide a refund for the coolers. The work would have to be done within a year.
The manufacture and sale of coolers that are not lead-free would be banned under the measure.
It also approves $30 million over three fiscal years for grants to schools to test for lead contamination and to take remedial action. And it authorizes $66 million over three years for technical and grant assistance to detect and prevent lead poisoning in children.
High levels of lead can affect virtually every part of the body.