Should I be worried about Lead in Drinking Water at School?

Should I be worried about Lead in Drinking Water at School?


The state of Arizona is certainly taking a proactive approach for the testing of drinking water in schools.  A coordinated effort was recently announced that will screen the water in as many as 14,000 samples within only 6 months! 

Many states are sampling and testing, but why?  Just how common is lead in drinking water?


Should I be worried about Lead in Drinking Water at School?

Most exposure to and ingestion of lead is still from paint chips or inhalation of the dust of lead based paint, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that up to 20% of human exposure can come from drinking water.  That's not to say it is naturally occurring in the water, rather it is leaching out of old plumbing components that used to be allowed to contain lead.

This is especially troubling for children as lead has been linked to many serious health challenges such as:

1. Brain and Nervous System Damage

2. Learning and Behavior Problems

3. Slowed Growth and Development

4. Hearing and Speech Problems


Homes built prior to 1986 are more likely to have pipes and plumbing that may contain lead.  This is important for baby's early years especially if using the home's drinking water to mix infant formula.  Here the EPA estimates that an infant could get 40% to 60% of his or her exposure to lead from formula mixed with tainted water.


If your home is older it would be wise to test your water.  This simple step can tell you if you need to take any action to reduce lead or other contaminants that may be present.  

Also, contact your school administrator and ask what is being done to proactively screen the water that serves the school(s) your children attend.  If you want to learn more about other water contaminants, please review THIS POST

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