Water is a renewable natural resource and its acceptable quality is important to human health. In recent years, there have been discovered the presence of more contaminants in drinking water such as an elevated lead level in the drinking water that schools and child care centers provide. Managing the water cycle in a sustainable manner is key to protect natural resources and the health of students.
What is lead?
Lead is a chemical element, a soft and heavy post-transition metal, responsible for several serious health problems. Normally, the lead does not penetrate groundwater if contamination occurs at the soil surface. The problem occurs when lead contaminates surface waters. Lead is in the water we drink as a result of the pipes used in water plants that are found in our homes, public schools, etc. Corrosion leads to the development of lead in water, which can have serious consequences on health. Although there’s a reduced use of lead pipes, most old houses and old buildings include plumbing pipes that have lead parts.
Sources of lead in school drinking water
Most schools use water that meets the state public health standard for lead to ensure that leads doesn’t contaminate the water. However, lead can still end up in drinking water as a result of the plumbing used in the school. Moreover, if the water remains for a long period of time in lead plumbing, it can have a better chance of assimilating this dangerous metal. This may explain why there are high lead concentrations found in schools and child care centers. It is therefore important to always test water to determine if it contains any traces of lead. The most efficient way is to test drinking water outlets, such as water faucets or drinking fountains.
How lead affects children
Both long term and short term lead exposure through water produces serious health problems. Most affected are children and pregnant women. In children, lead contamination results in delays in normal development of both intellectual and physical , and attention disorders, disorders of hearing and the ability to learn. Lead is a cumulative poison, children up to 6 years, the fetus and pregnant women are most vulnerable categories. Lead can enter the mother’s fetus through the placenta and cause serious damage to the nervous system and the brain. Fortunately, there are some methods to prevent these health problems from occurring. The ideal solutions is for each school to invest in the best water filtration system, that will remove harmful contaminants that are present in school drinking water. The best water filtration system can remove up to %99 of lead before it comes out of water faucets or drinking fountains.