The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, showed Americans everywhere the importance of knowing exactly where the water you drink comes from. Following reports of lead-riddled water throughout the area, many other cities responded by checking their own water for possible contaminants, NPR reported.
As a result, a major problem has come to light: Many schools across the country are fitted with lead pipes. Reports of lead found in public schools in Chicago, Portland, the District of Columbia, Newark, New Jersey, and more have come out, The Washington Post reported.
Lead pipes cause an unsafe environment for anyone drinking the water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained that lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities and behavioral problems in children.
While there is no amount of lead that is considered safe, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s action level for lead in a water supply is 15 parts per billion. NPR reported that some Chicago schools found lead levels well over this. Three drinking fountains at Tanner Elementary school showed levels between 47 and 114 ppb.
As schools find evidence of lead-polluted water, they are taking action. The fountains at Tanner were shut down and replaced with water coolers. The District of Columbia announced plans to equip many of the city’s public schools with water filters and make greater efforts to detect issues like this.
Parents Express Concerns
However, many parents continue to be concerned about their children who had been consuming contaminated water.
“How long has this been going on?” Victoria Mosby, a parent of three children who all go to Tanner Elementary in Chicago, asked, according to NPR. “The three water fountains that they took is off the floor that my sixth-grader is on. So there’s no telling how long my son has been drinking this polluted water and I have a problem with that.”
Lead pipes are more commonly found in older buildings that were built before the dangers of lead were widely known. Many of the nation’s school buildings are aging, and it’s crucial that school districts and cities work to ensure that children are attending school in safe environments.
As work continues to be required to eliminate lead from drinking supplies, some school renovations may be in order. When this is being done in such a sensitive environment, such as a public school during the academic year, it’s important that workers keep all materials safe and out of the way. Mobile Mini’s construction storage containers can help with this dilemma. Curious children will not be able to access equipment and materials behind the containers’ patented Tri-cam locking system, and all equipment will be kept securely out of the way of school day activities.