FACTs and Myths: Lead Present in Nashville, TN School Drinking Water

FACT seeks to educate citizens on the real issues surrounding lead in school drinking water.  Oftentimes we find that school administrators, school districts, policymakers, and reporters are misinformed on this issue and therefore, mislead the public on lead test results and remediation actions.  Phil Williams from Channel 5 News in Nashville, TN is not one of those misinformed reporters.  His piece entitled "Test Show Lead in Metro Schools' Drinking Water" is well researched and exposes the dangerous myths that this school district attempts to spin into fact.  We applaud Mr. Williams and his exceptional reporting.  Take a moment to watch the below segment and see how many myths you can spot.

Myth 1:  Testing samples with less than 15 parts per billion (ppb) of lead are "safe".                                                                                              FACT:  There is no "safe" level of lead ingestion, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that drinking water should not contain more than 1 ppb of lead.

Myth 2:  Out of 2,800 test samples, 81 tested above the EPA action level of 15 ppb, implying that the drinking water is "safe".                                                                                                                   FACT:  Let's not "spin" the numbers to make it sound like almost all of the drinking water sources are safe so the district does not have a problem.  With further examination one elementary school's classroom faucet tested at over 200 ppb and a water fountain at a high school tested over 1,190 ppb.  Testing is about finding sources with lead and remediating them, not hiding behind the quantity of tests that show no lead present at the time of testing.

Myth 3:  Drinking water sources that tested "high" for lead are rarely used by students; therefore, although lead is present in the water it is not being ingested by students.                                                                                                                                                                                                              FACT:  In this case that is clearly not true as demonstrated above--this is a well-peddled myth used by school administrators to sooth anxious parents, in fact if high levels of lead are being found within in the water system it is likely that lead can pass through pipes and fixtures into traditional drinking water sources.