I have written several posts about lead in school drinking water; this is a national problem infiltrating communities throughout America. What we have not highlighted is concrete solutions to the problem. Testing is certainly a start but as school districts in and around Atlanta, Georgia demonstrate, testing is a valuable information gathering method but does not immediately address the problem of children ingesting lead in water at school.
Recent investigative reporting by the local NBC Channel 11 news station in Atlanta lead to widespread water testing throughout local districts. The following is a list of counties in Georgia and their water testing plans and results.
Atlanta—completed testing; 6 schools built after 1989 with sources over 15ppb
Cherokee--will test water sources; initially insisted their water met standards because buildings built after 1990
Clayton--will test water sources; initially insisted their water met standards because buildings built after 1990
Cobb—have conducted some random testing
Dekalb—will test all water sources district-wide; 3 schools built after 1989 with sources over 15ppb
Douglas—refuses to conduct testing
Forsyth –will test all water sources district-wide
Fulton—tested all water sources district-wide; 161 schools with sources over 15ppb
Gwinnett—have conducted some random testing
Henry—will test all water sources district-wide
While all this testing and information gathering is happening; children continue to drink from water sources that may or may not be laced with lead. Fulton County has spent $300,000 testing all of their water sources and found 161 schools with lead over 15ppb. FACT believes that children and parents should know that there are lead free drinking water sources in every school in America. Therefore, we propose that schools and day care centers use a fraction of the money spent on testing to install drinking water filters at some water fountains. No more Russian roulette with children’s health, every family will know that their child has a safe, lead-free, drinking water source in school.
Finally, as demonstrated by our February 23, 2017 post, Understanding Lead Testing in Drinking Water, the 15ppb EPA action level is too high and allows children to be exposed to unsafe levels of lead before a school will take action to remediate a water source. Schools should adopt the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommended action level of 1ppb because there is NO SAFE LEAD EXPOSURE LEVEL.
Click here for the video of the full investigative report.