The Virginia Department of Health has launched a free program to help find lead in the drinking water of public schools and day care centers.
Public schools and centers have to sign up online, and will hear back from the health department if they are selected.
The Environmental Protection Agency is providing Virginia more than $1 million for the program. That will allow the state to collect and analyze 40,000 water samples.
Health officials say priority will be given to elementary schools and child care centers that take care of kids 6 and younger, and to schools where at least half of the students get free and reduced lunches and have Head Start facilities. Older buildings, which are more likely to have lead plumbing, will also be given priority.
Dr. Tony Singh, the deputy director of the Virginia Office of Drinking Water, called the program an amazing opportunity to work with child care centers and schools to help find and reduce lead exposure. “Every action we take to reduce lead exposure improves the health of our children,” Singh said in a statement.