Talking About Lead in School Drinking Water with D.C. Councilmember Cheh’s Staff

Recently I had the good fortune to meet with knowledgeable staff from D.C. Councilmember (CM) Mary Cheh of Ward 3’s office and discussed D.C.’s efforts to eliminate lead in school and daycare drinking water.  A recent amendment to the Childhood Lead Exposure Prevention Act of 2017 expands mandatory water testing and remediation beyond public schools to recreation centers, charter schools and daycare centers in the District.  The amendment also changes the action level for lead in drinking water from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommended level of 1 part per billion (ppb) to 5 ppb---the FDA’s action level for bottled water.

Read More

Talking About Lead in School Drinking Water with D.C.’s Deputy Mayor for Education’s Office

I recently had the privilege to meet with staff from D.C.’s Deputy Mayor for Education’s Office and representatives from the Department of General Services and District of Columbia Public Schools.  These folks work to keep lead out of school drinking water and protect D.C. children from ingesting this toxic substance while in school.  Last year D.C. lowered its action level for lead in school drinking water from 15 parts per billion (ppb) to 1 ppb.  In so doing, the Department of General Services (DGS) was tasked to place a filter, which would filter lead out of the water, on each water source throughout the entire school district. 

Read More

FACTs About Low Lead Level Exposures

New studies and re-interpretation of past studies demonstrates that it is not possible to determine a threshold below which BLL is not inversely related to IQ. [2]

Elevated BLLs are associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and antisocial behavior, which in turn increase the likelihood of conduct disorder.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has gradually lowered the blood lead level of concern (the BLL where intervention is recommended) from 60 ug/dL (600 ppb) in 1960 to 10 ug/dL (100 ppb) in 1991. 

Read More

Talking About Lead in School Drinking Water with D.C. Councilmember Allen

We are starting a new blog series called "Talking About Lead in School Drinking Water" where we will highlight meetings with community leaders who are involved in this issue and trying to make a positive difference.  I had the pleasure of meeting Councilmember Charles Allen of Ward 6 and his staff last week to talk about D.C.'s actions to combat lead in school drinking water.  CM Allen is very knowledgable on this issue and wants to see D.C. take a proactive stand against lead in school drinking water.  

Read More

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 in 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.

Read More

Getting Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Life: Lead in Baby Food

A new study by the Environmental Defense Fund evaluated data collected by the Food and Drug Administration from 2003 to 2013 and found that 20 percent of baby food samples tested had detectable levels of lead.  This is very scary and every parent should be concerned.  According to the NPR article “Lead Detected in Baby Food Samples.  Pediatricians Say There’s No Safe Level”, the study included 2,164 baby food samples. They found 89 percent of grape juice samples, 86 percent of sweet potatoes samples and 47 percent of teething biscuits samples contained detectable levels of lead.

Read More

Testing for Lead Exposure

A recent New York Times article entitledF.D.A. Warns of Faulty Lead Testing in Children and Mothers brought to my attention that blood lead tests taken after 2014 that used Magellan Diagnostics to analyze the blood may be faulty.  The concern is that the tests may have underestimated blood lead levels in tests done by drawing blood from the vein.  There are two ways blood can be drawn for lead tests 1) by pricking the finger or heel (capillary) or 2) drawing blood from the vein.  The tests drawn from the vein that used Magellan Diagnostics seem to be the ones that are providing faulty results.  Although the capillary tests are acceptable it is recommended that if the test shows signs of lead in the blood then the test should be followed up with a venous test. 

Read More

Study Shows that Lead Exposure at Young Age Leads to Decline in Socioeconomic Status

We know that children that are exposed to lead suffer from lower IQ and decreased cognitive ability.   A recent study found that children who experienced higher lead exposures saw their intellectual ability decline from their baseline starting point as time wore on---meaning that the lead exposure continued to have a negative effect on a person’s cognitive learning abilities years after the initial exposure.

Read More

FACTS and MYTHS: Understanding Building Dates are Crucial to Addressing Lead in School Drinking Water

A recent article, "San Diego Schools What We Know and Don't Know" details problems with lead in school drinking water in San Diego, CA school districts and states that “The water supply is not the problem.  Plumbing at facilities is.”  I recently wrote a post discussing San Diego’s testing and reporting methods, focusing on how schools are interpreting lead test results.   In our series “FACTS and MYTHs” we will look at this article and highlight where additional information is needed. 

Read More

FACTS and MYTHS: Misinformation on Lead Testing in San Diego Schools

Knowing that there is a problem does not get us any closer to solving it; however, understanding the problem and being armed with the right questions to ask will get us closer to finding an answer.  Our new blog series entitled “FACTS and MYTHS” will show through examples how parents are being told that water is “safe” in schools without providing the full story. 

Read More

Nationwide Problem: Myths about Lead in Drinking Water

Part of the problem is the number itself, the EPA’s action level is 15ppb so that must mean something and one would presume it is somehow tied to health.  The number does mean something, it is found in the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule of 1991 and is the lowest level where corrosion control treatment (CCT) is effective.

Read More

Nationwide Problem: Arlington, VA Elementary School Demonstrates Discrepancies in Lead Test Results

In this example, children who literally go to school across the river are exposed to more lead because their school’s remediation level is higher than schools mere miles away.  How is this fair to families and children?  Look closely at this graphic and you will see that water sources that tested above 1ppb on the first draw at Jamestown Elementary School is 69 out of 109—63%.  The number of water sources remediated after the testing is 19—only 17%. 

Read More

Nationwide Problem: Playing Russian Roulette with Children’s Health

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 drinking water source in school. 

Read More

Understanding Lead Testing in Drinking Water

Most schools are not testing for lead at all. And even in those states and school districts that are testing, much of the available data is limited to test results showing concentrations in excess of 15 ppb (or a 20 ppb equivalent for schools, using a different sampling method). Yet we know that lead is toxic at very low levels.

Read More

National Problem: Lead Tests Reveal 64 Public Schools in Washington, D.C. Had High Lead Levels in Drinking Water

The results of lead testing done at 113 DC public schools in April, May, and June of 2016 revealed elevated lead levels in drinking water in 64 schools.  In June 2016 the D.C. Department of General Services adopted a 1 ppb action level for lead tests on drinking water sources in all D.C. public school and parks and recreation centers.

Read More

National Problem: Recent Tests in Dallas, Texas Find High Levels of Lead and Copper in School Drinking Water

Texas is facing a common problem throughout its schools in the Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth areas: lead and copper in drinking water.  Seven Dallas Independent School Districts (ISD) campuses had high levels of copper or lead in drinking water when tested this fall, according to results released by the district this week.  The lead tests revealed levels as high as 160 ppb at James Madison High, eight times the recommended levels for action at schools. 

Read More

National Problem: Butler County Pennsylvania Elementary Schools Test for High Levels of Lead and Copper in Drinking Water

This week students in Butler County, Pennsylvania elementary schools were given bottled water and the schools were closed for two days due to elevated levels of lead and copper in the drinking water.   Lead in school drinking water is a national problem that not only affects urban schools that receive water from public water sources but also rural schools getting their water from wells. 

Read More

Lead in School Drinking Water is a Nationwide Problem

We will use this blog to highlight the very real problem of lead in school drinking water throughout the United States.  This article discusses high levels of lead in elementary and day care centers’ drinking water in Milwaukee. 

Read More