There’s lead in your school’s water, now what?
Approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 have blood lead levels above what is considered safe by the CDC.1 Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health, including damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, and hearing and speech problems. The severity of lead poisoning is only increased by the tasteless and odorless nature of the element. Fortunately, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease of young children.
When identified, lead can be controlled and removed safely. Drinking water is a recognized source of lead, as it can be contaminated from lead pipes, solder, brass fixtures, or valves. With Florida being home to nearly 3,600 public schools and 9,000 licensed childcare facilities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) recognized the need to enforce lead testing and remediation protocols for drinking water.2
Often, the on-again, off-again nature of water used in school buildings can increase exposure risk, as water that sits in pipes is subject to lingering lead. To take steps in ensuring lead-free drinking water, Florida childcare centers have been installing water bottle filling stations and filtration. Lead exposure has received attention nationwide, as we continue to see pushes for proactive, preventative solutions.
1 Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, October 27). Prevent Children’s Exposure to Lead. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/leadpoisoning/index.html
2 Florida Department of Environmental Protection. (2022, February 8). Voluntary Lead Testing Program for Schools and Childcare Facilities. https://floridadep.gov/water/source-drinking-water/content/voluntary-lead-testing-program-schools-and-childcare-facilities
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