There are no safe levels of
lead in drinking water
lead in drinking water
Together we can help improve drinking water, one fountain at a time.
Lead continues to be a hot-button issue that garners significant national attention from families, concerned citizens, advocacy groups, media and the government. Scientists, legislators, and other champions of the movement to ‘get the lead out’ agree that action should be taken to reduce lead in facilities that provide access to drinking water, especially those with older plumbing systems.
Taking action is key because lead exposure can be detrimental to health, especially in young children. According to a research study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, over 40% of the schools tested in 2016 and 2017 found elevated lead levels in their drinking water. Reducing lead in drinking water is a critical issue at our nation’s school systems, and one we hope to help solve one drinking fountain at a time.
Lead is particularly damaging to children because their organs and bones are still maturing, unlike in adults. According to the CDC, about 500,000 American children between the ages of 1 and 5 years have blood lead levels at or above their blood lead reference value. Pediatricians at the Mayo Clinic have noted that children can experience learning difficulties, hyperactivity, and developmental delays with exposure to lead, and many experts believe that this damage is irreversible.
[Environment American Research and Policy Center. "Get the lead out, ensure safe drinking water for our children." March 2019.]
Over half of the commercial buildings in the United States were built before 1980. School's built in the 1970s are now approaching the half-century mark. In 1991 the USEPA Lead & Copper Rule was created to help reduce lead in drinking water. However, there is still potential to find lead or copper fittings in buildings even until 2014 when the plumbing and manufacturing industries ceased using these materials.
[U.S. Department of Education. "The new schoolhouse: building facilities that work." November 2017.]
[U.S. Energy Information Administration. "A look at the U.S. commercial building stock." March 2015.]
According to the National Drinking Water Alliance, over 50% of students in the U.S. attend school under-hydrated. Access to clean, quality water is critical to their success in school and out. According to Dr. Corinne Allen, founder of the Advanced Learning and Development Institute, brain cells need two times more energy than other cells in the body. Water provides this energy more effectively than any other substance. Staying hydrated improves clarity and creativity, and properly hydrated students score higher on exams and are more focused and engaged in the classroom than those who are not.
[National Drinking Water Alliance."Healthy hydration." December 2019.]
[Teach & Kids Learn. "Want to improve your memory? Stay hydrated." January 2019.]
Across all 50 states, no two have the same lead testing, training, or mitigation strategies. In fact, only 15 have mandated some type of lead testing protocol. However, the EPA plans to release new changes to the Lead & Copper Rule in 2023, and community water systems and facilities across the country will be expected to comply.
[Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health & University of California. "State approaches to testing school drinking water for lead in the United States." January 2019.]
Environment America Research and Policy Center: Get the lead out, ensuring safe drinking water for our children.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: State Approaches to Testing School Drinking Water for Lead in the United States
American Academy of Pediatrics: Prevention of Childhood Lead Toxicity
2018 US Government Accountability Office: Lead Testing Report
Lead and Copper Rule: Reference Guide
Lead and Copper Rule: Proposed Revisions
EPAs 3Ts: Rules for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water
EPA Website: Information about lead in drinking water