Jul 08, 2019

Lead Detected in Drinking Water in California Schools

Lead must not exceed 1 ppb in drinking water foundation in schools

Lead must not exceed 1 ppb in drinking water foundation in schools

Lead has been detected in 20% of fixtures tested in California’s K-12 school campuses’ drinking water. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the California State Water Resources Control Board confirmed 1,166 out of 6,595 schools tested found one or more fountains had water with more than 5 ppb of lead. 

According to EWG, some schools did not test all drinking water fountains or faucets of potable water. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends water in schools not exceed 1 ppb lead. 

“One-fifth of all K-12 schools have found at least one faucet on their campus that delivers a dose of lead to the children who use them,” said Susan Little, EWG’s senior advocate for government affairs in California. “These fountains are placed in areas easily reached by children, and many of the fountains haven’t been cleared. Parents should be concerned that their children might be drinking lead during recess.”

It is a California state law that all K-12 public schools built prior to 2010 must test drinking water for lead contamination by July 1, 2019. According to the state water board, “6,600 out of approximately 8,200 schools with this requirement have tested their water.” California state law and regulation does not require schools to test all fountains and faucets with potable water. According to EWG, California state law requires schools have one drinking fountain for every 150 students. Most schools have not been evaluating all drinking water sources, only performing between one and five tests. 

Lead can cause a variety of issues including lifelong health damage. “Small amounts of lead can lower a child’s intelligence, cause behavior and learning issues, slow growth, and harm hearing,” according to EWG. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends lead be removed from housing, childcare facilities and water served to children to prevent the contaminant’s potential to cause harm.