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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 12, 2017 02:58 PM
From: Senator Wayne D. Fontana
To: All Senate members
Subject: Water Tested for Lead for Agreement of Sale of Real Property
A 2014 Department of Health study found that children in more than eighteen communities throughout the Commonwealth have tested positive for lead at levels higher than those in Flint, Michigan. Some of the communities in that report are: Allentown, Altoona, Bethlehem, Erie, Johnstown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Reading, and Scranton.

Lead is a problematic issue that is compounded by our state’s aging infrastructure. Our drinking water can contain a significant amount of lead as a result of corrosion of pipes, solder, and fixtures found in buildings or in the mains or service connections of a public water system. With that being said, homes built before 1986 are more likely to contain lead in their pipes and according to the Census Bureau, the median year for a home built in Pennsylvania is 1973.

The stakes of contaminated water are especially high for the vulnerable population which includes young children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. More recently, scientists have discovered that lead causes irreversible brain damage which can be attributed to lower IQ levels, learning disabilities and behavioral problems. In addition, lead has been linked to a heightened risk of fetal death.

I plan on reintroducing Senate Bill 19 of the previous session that requires any agreement of sale for real property in this Commonwealth to include an option to have the water tested for lead. This would be similar to the current inspection contingency in a standard agreement of sale.

I feel that my legislation will give potential homeowners another avenue to potentially understand what they may be purchasing and any health risks associated with a house. I hope that you will consider joining me in co-sponsoring this consumer-friendly bill.

Introduced as SB727