Article courtesy of Webwire | March 31, 2015 | WebWire | Shared as educational material
Last month, the NBC4 I-Team broadcasted an investigative report into possible lead-tainted drinking water at schools in the Los Angeles area. The program was a follow-up to a report done by the same station seven years previously that had found old pipes and drinking fountains that could be exposing children and faculty to possible lead poisoning risks.
Back in 2008, tests indicated elevated lead levels of up to 400 times those deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) according to the reporters. After the initial broadcast, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) implemented a policy to conduct testing and enforce a mandatory flushing of drinking fountains for 30 seconds each morning to remove any lead contamination that may have accumulated. The new NBC4 I-Team investigators recently took undercover video and got a hold of internal documents that appeared to show that the flushing policy is not always taking place.
Lead can enter drinking water by leaching from old lead or galvanized pipes and from plumbing systems that used lead solder or brass fittings. As is the case at the LAUSD and many other school districts across the country, funding to replace old pipes and equipment in aging schools is often not available.
“Children are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning and the CDC reports that no safe blood lead level in children has been identified,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Garden Grove facility. “Not only can exposure to lead cause debilitating conditions in children, the CDC also reports that it can cost $5,600 in medical and special education costs for each child with serious lead poisoning. Prevention is the key, and LA Testing offers sampling supplies and testing services to identify lead in water, air, dust and bulk materials.”