Bill Memo: Lead-Free Parks

1-Tree: Beneficial rating


The bill amends Section 1110 of the Public Health Law to require testing and remediation of lead in drinking water at New York’s state and local parks. 


This legislation requires testing and remediation of lead in drinking water at New York’s state and local parks. With young children at highest risk of life-long damage from this neurotoxin, New York must take steps to ensure its parks are lead-free. 

There is no safe level of lead exposure. The growing bodies and developing organs of children are especially vulnerable to lead exposure. Even low levels of lead in children can cause neurological damage, impaired hearing, slowed growth, and anemia. 

Recent drinking water testing in New York City parks demonstrates the urgent need to establish testing statewide. Between May and August 2019, 293 water fountains in 196 city parks detected lead above the city’s action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) in at least one sample. Many more fountains had detectable levels of lead below 15 ppb, which will continue to pose risks to children. 

Under this legislation, all state and local parks must test for lead in drinking water at least once every three years, and conduct remediation within 90 days wherever the state’s action level, currently 15 ppb, is exceeded. 

We recommend that this bill incorporate several additional measures to more fully protect public health: 

  • Lower the lead action level from 15 ppb to 1 ppb 
  • Require testing at least annually 

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Environmental Advocates NY Bill Rating: Beneficial

Memo #: 43