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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

Vermont Schools And Child Care Centers Are Testing Positive For Lead. What Happens Next?

Dozens of schools and more than 80 child care centers in Vermont have tested positive for lead that exceeds the legal limits. Those are the results under new legislation requiring tests for lead at all schools and child care facilities in the state by December 2020. We're talking with state health and education officials about the testing and what happens when dangerous lead levels are detected.

Vermont has nearly 440 schools and more than 1,200 child care facilities across the state. Test results are online at the Vermont Department of Health official website,which allows users to search by school, child care or provider name, town and type.

Following a 2017-2018 pilot program that tested for (and detected) lead in the water at 16 Vermont schools, state lawmakers passed a bill this year calling for every facility to be tested by the end of 2020.

The state has allocated $1 million to help schools replace faulty fixtures.

The state's threshold for lead is four parts per billion, a stricter standard than the federal "action level" of 15 parts per billion.

Joining Vermont Edition for a discussion on lead testing in schools and child care facilities are David Grass, environmental health program manager at the Vermont Department of Health, and Ben Montross, compliance and support services section chief in the Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division at the Department of Environmental Conservation

We'll also hear from St. Albans City School Principal Joan Cavallo and facility manager Robin Boudreau on their participation in the 2017-2018 pilot program.

Broadcast live on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Karen is Vermont Public's Director of Radio Programming, serving Vermonters by overseeing the sound of Vermont Public's radio broadcast service. Karen has a long history with public radio, beginning in the early 2000's with the launch of the weekly classical music program, Sunday Bach. Karen's undergraduate degree is in Broadcast Journalism, and she has worked for public radio in Vermont and St. Louis, MO, in areas of production, programming, traffic, operations and news. She has produced many projects for broadcast over the years, including the Vermont Public Choral Hour, with host Linda Radtke, and interviews with local newsmakers with Morning Edition host Mitch Wertlieb. In 2021 Karen worked with co-producer Betty Smith on a national collaboration with StoryCorps One Small Step, connecting Vermonters one conversation at a time.
Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
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