Northwest Elementary School, Hudson Middle School, and Hudson High School found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some taps within the schools in tests conducted on 9/15/16, but those levels were normal in all but one sink tested on 10/1/16. Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Please read this attached information closely to see what we are doing to reduce lead in the drinking water.
Health effects of lead
Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. 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 your 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. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. 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.
While the water coming into the schools has met all water quality criteria, some locations within the schools did not meet water quality criteria for lead in the 9/15/16 tests. This means there was leaching of lead from either soldered pipes or older fixtures in the buildings. These could include lead pipes, lead solder (commonly used until 1986), as well as faucets, valves, and other components made of brass. To avoid exposure due to the leaching of lead, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) encourages flushing the pipes before drinking, and only using cold water for cooking and drinking. Boiling the water does not reduce lead levels.
Because lead poisoning often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. You can test your child for lead poisoning by asking your pediatrician to do a simple blood test.
Northwest Elementary School, Hudson Middle School, and Hudson High School have a water treatment plant permitted by the (DEP) that requires the district to conduct water quality testing. In September, some samples from sinks within the schools contained lead readings that were above the acceptable level. As a result, we took immediate action to reduce levels of lead. We suspected that the levels might be a result of the lack of use of the sinks, so in coordination with the DEP, we immediately began a flushing program and increased monitoring.
The DEP conducted a second test on Saturday, October 1, and the results indicated that all sinks accessible to students tested within acceptable levels. We will continue the flushing program and increased testing in coordination with the DEP to make sure that all samples continue to be below the action level. Because the original results had an exceedance, the DEP requires that we educate families about lead in drinking water.
For more information, call the Pasco County School Maintenance Department at 813-794-7900 or visit pascoschools.org. For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home and the health effects of lead, visit the Environmental Protection Agency website at www.epa.gov/lead, or contact your health care provider. We also have posted information on the schools’ websites. Enclosed is a pamphlet from EPA to further answer any questions you may have.