Illinois governor signs school, daycare lead-testing law

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois elementary schools and day care centers will have to test drinking water sources for lead under legislation that Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed.

Rauner signed the measure Monday with civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson in attendance. Rauner says the new law “is a step in protecting our children from the devastating effects of lead exposure.” Jackson called it a “life-saving bill.”

School buildings constructed before 1987 must complete testing by the end of this year. Those built afterward have until the end of 2018. Parents and guardians must be notified if there are elevated lead results.

The proposal follows the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which shed light on the dangers of lead contamination. Children are most at risk to the effects of elevated lead levels, which can cause developmental delays.

Closer to home, the city of Galesburg has also been looking into reports of lead in its water supply. Last week, the city announced it was replacing between 1,500 and 2,000 private water service lead lines within the city.