Toxic Substances:

The Extent of Lead Hazards in Child Care Facilities and Schools Is Unknown

RCED-93-197: Published: Sep 14, 1993. Publicly Released: Sep 20, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed federal, state, and local activities to reduce lead hazards in child care facilities and schools, focusing on: (1) federal and state lead hazard inspection programs; and (2) existing information on the extent and treatment of lead hazards in child care facilities and schools.

GAO found that: (1) most federal programs do not specifically address lead hazards in child care facilities and schools, but they do increase general understanding of lead hazards and facilitate efforts to identify and eliminate them in general; (2) the few federal programs that specifically target child care facilities and schools are limited in scope and apply to only a small number of facilities and schools; (3) the Environmental Protection Agency does not have the authority to enforce legislation to reduce lead hazards or sufficient funds to test drinking water; (4) state and local lead hazard inspection and enforcement activities and requirements vary widely due to limited licensing and budgets; (5) there is not sufficient information on the extent and abatement of lead hazards in child care facilities; (6) some school districts have limited information on lead inspections in schools; and (7) Congress has proposed legislation to require local authorities to test all child care facilities for lead hazards in paint, drinking water, and soils, visually inspect elementary schools for potential lead hazards, and prepare reports on the results of these tests and inspections.

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