PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A state board has approved new rules requiring Oregon day cares to test drinking water for high levels of lead.

The state Early Learning Council on Thursday approved the rules, stipulating that day cares must test the water and submit the results to state regulators by the end of September, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported .

The rules apply to more than 4,000 licensed day cares across the state and to unlicensed day cares that receive government subsidies.

Under the new standards, water taps used for drinking, cooking, preparing food or infant formula must be tested.

Day cares with water taps that exceed the lead limit of 15 parts per billion must be shut off to children. They must then provide a source of clean water to children and submit an improvement plan to the state Office of Child Care.

The day cares will then have 30 days to fix the issue after the state approves the plan.

The state may issue warnings, fines or license revocations to day cares that fail to test or provide safe drinking water.

Day cares will be required to test their water every six years. New day cares seeking state licenses also will be required to test their water.

Environmental advocates had pushed a lower lead limit of 1 part per billion. Celeste Meiffren-Swango, state director of Environment Oregon, told councilmembers that the rules give an illusion of safety.

"It is unacceptable to allow any amount of lead in drinking water for our children," Meiffren-Swango said.

Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, said "there's no safe level of lead exposure," but the new rules will help protect children.

___

Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com