New legislation will help schools and daycare centers in the Hudson Valley test their drinking water for potential lead contamination.

Standing at Clinton Elementary School in Poughkeepsie, Senator Chuck Schumer announced a bill that would establish a new federal grant program for schools to test their water for lead. Schumer explained that toxic lead-based pipes were not banned until 1986 and, as a result, any building whose water is supplied by pipes made before that time could contain lead.

“It’s disturbing that Flint may have been just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to toxic lead in our kids’ drinking water,” Schumer said. “Right now there is a yawning gap in our lead-testing protocols; at the federal level we do not require or, more importantly, support lead testing in the areas where our youngest and most vulnerable spend much of their time.”

Recently lead was found in over 60 samples taken at two schools in Ithaca. During his visit to Dutchess County Tuesday, Schumer explained that all Poughkeepsie City Schools are regularly tested and up to date on all New York State Regulations for Lead Poisoning and Prevention Control.

Even if drinking water is deemed safe now, Schumer believes every school district will benefit from the new bill. By providing funding for schools to test their water, schools will be able to spend financial resources elsewhere.

“The effects of lead poisoning on our children’s bodies and brains is catastrophic and irreversible, Schumer said. “Every drop of water that comes from a school’s faucet or fountain should be pure, safe and clean, and this legislation helps make that goal crystal clear.”