On September 6, 2016, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo signed emergency legislation into law requiring all public schools to test drinking water fixtures for lead. Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. The following is important information about lead:
These new regulations require all water fixtures on school property that could be used for drinking and cooking to be sampled for lead. The first round of samples was required to be collected in September and October 2016. Future samples must be collected every five years, starting in 2020. If samples from fixtures contain lead above a certain level, referred to as the "Action Level" of 15 parts per billion (ppb) by the NYSDOH, then we must take measures to reduce lead in those fixtures.
Sources of Lead:
Lead is a common metal found in the environment. Drinking water is one possible source of lead exposure. The main sources of lead exposure are lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust or soil, and some plumbing materials. In addition, lead can be found in certain types of pottery, pewter, brass fixtures, food, and cosmetics. Water in contact with copper plumbing with lead soldered joints or brass fixtures can leach lead out of the plumbing. The use of lead that plumbing fixtures can contain from 8% to less than 1%. EPA estimates that 10 to 20% of a person's potential exposure to lead may come from drinking water and that infants who consume mostly formula mixed with lead-containing water can receive 4-=60% of their exposure to lead from drinking water.
Health Effects of Lead:
Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Even low levels of lead can affect adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure. Lead is stored in the bones and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother's bones, which may affect brain development.
Should Your Child be Tested for Lead?
New York Public Health Law requires primary health care providers to screen each child for blood levels at one and two years of age. In addition, at each routine well-child visit, or at least annually, if a child has not had routine well-child visits, primary health care providers assess each child between six months and six years of age for high lead exposure. Children found to be at risk for high lead levels are screened or referred for lead screening. If your child has not had routine well-child visits and you are concerned about lead exposure to your child, contact your local health department or h health care provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead.
For More Information:
Please call us at 716-556-6624 or visit our website at falconerschools.org. We will keep parents, students and staff informed of the progress we make to reduce the lead in our drinking water by posting updates on our website and in our newsletters. For more information on lead in drinking water, contact the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Division at 716-753-4481 or the New York State Department of Health at 518-402-7650 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead, visit EPA's website at www.epa.gov/lead, or call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD.