Toxic lead levels in drinking water at state-run centers

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2015

CONTACT
Edie Surtees
Communications Director:
512.407.2739, esurtees@DRTx.org

Jeff Miller
Attorney/Policy Specialist
512.407.2762, jmilller@DRTx.org

AUSTIN—Just last week, Disability Rights Texas and other members of the Texas Disability Policy Consortium (DPC) sent a letter to Governor Abbott asking him to take all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of the individuals with disabilities living at the Brenham, El Paso and San Angelo State Supported Living Centers (SSLC).

Texas has 13 state supported living centers that house individuals with disabilities. This week during a quarterly test for lead, Brenham, El Paso and San Angelo SSLCs had toxic levels of the substance in their drinking water. The water at the Brenham facility alone contained 18 times the amount of lead that is considered unsafe for human consumption.

The DPC urges the state to take immediate and substantial measures to ensure the health and safety of the residents at these facilities.

“Time and time again we see the Texas SSLCs jeopardize the health and safety of Texans with disabilities. The taxpayers cannot afford to continue throwing money at our crumbling SSLC infrastructure,” said Jeff Miller, an attorney who chairs the DPC and works as a policy specialist at Disability Rights Texas. “We need comprehensive, long-term, and fiscally responsible reforms to the SSLC system that better serves individuals with disabilities. This includes closure and consolidation of the 13 facilities that Texas funds.”

The DPC is an independent group of 21 members from statewide and regional disability advocacy organizations that are committed to promoting the rights, inclusion, integration, and independence of Texans with disabilities. Disability Rights Texas, the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities in Texas, is a member of the DPC.

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About Disability Rights Texas

Disability Rights Texas (previously named Advocacy Inc.) is a non-profit law firm that serves as the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. Its mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society. Visit www.DRTx.org for more information.