Bipartisan Policy Center Calls for Drinking Water Supports
In January 2022, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) released their report Strengthening the Child Nutrition Programs. The report outlines opportunities for improvement during congressional reauthorization of the federal child nutrition programs (school meal programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program [CACFP] and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children [WIC]). Under Policy Recommendation 2, “Strengthen nutrition in the school nutrition programs,” the report includes, “Address school drinking water safety and accessibility.” Page 23 of the report states:
“To further support a healthy school environment, federal policy could address school drinking water safety and accessibility. A 2017 GAO survey found that 41% of school districts had not tested for lead within the last year. Of the 43% who reported testing for lead, 37% found elevated levels. Testing for lead in all schools, as well as any necessary remediation, could be required and funded. Testing could be done on all taps used for drinking and cooking, including in school cafeterias, kitchens, and water fountains.
To encourage healthy beverage consumption, at least one water bottle filling station could be installed in a high-traffic area in every school. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted in December 2021 dedicated $55 billion to expand access to clean drinking water for households, businesses, schools, and childcare centers. These funds could be used for lead testing and remediation in schools, childcare centers, and other youth-serving facilities.”
Like the recent report of the National Clinical Care Commission, the BPC report reiterates recommendations that the National Drinking Water Alliance has called for on numerous occasions, including a 2022 letter to Congress.