Assembly Bill 746, which passed in January, has made it a requirement for all California public schools built before 2010 to have their water systems tested by July of next year. This was triggered by findings of unsafe lead levels in school water fountains, and by growing concerns after the crisis in Flint, MI. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body and even low levels of lead in the blood can affect cognitive abilities “including IQ, the ability to pay attention, and academic achievement.”
As the California Water Boards states, “Lead in drinking water remains an on-going public health concern, especially for children.” While lead may not be a usual suspect in the water supply, when water passes through older plumbing, it can become contaminated. This is particularly dangerous for children with developing brains. Currently, as the CDC states, “The effects of lead exposure cannot be corrected.”
With testing underway, several schools throughout California have been identified as having unsafe levels of lead in their drinking water. A map of tested schools and results can be found on this Interactive Online Map.
While there is no easy fix for this, it is important that parents become educated and provide a solution for their children’s drinking water. Bottled water is not an affordable or viable alternative as it also presents a number of health concerns.
King Water Filtration is currently working with Flint, MI public schools to help install water filtration systems to ensure children there have safe drinking water. While this may be a solution for other schools throughout the country in the future, right now parents should access all available information and seek alternatives such as home water filtration systems and filtered drinking water pitchers.
It truly takes a collaborative effort to ensure that we all have access to safe drinking water. Make sure you’re taking steps in your own home, with your family, and educating yourself with what’s happening with your water supply.