With the publicity of the Flint Water Crisis come questions about the rest of the country’s water safety. Many contaminants are found in drinking water no matter where it comes from. Public water supply or private wells are often contaminated with something that is a danger to health. Most never know what contaminants are in their water. They just assume that their water is safe unless a problem is notable by a discoloration or foul odor. The fact is most of the contaminants that can harm health, do not smell bad or are visible to the naked eye.
The EPA sets forth standards that all public water supplies must adhere to. Certain levels of some contaminants are allowed to be present in water tests. There are guidelines for reporting testing results of municipal water filtration plants. While this sounds good in theory, in practice many officials at municipal water plants know how to make their test results meet these standards when they are tested. Some have questioned whether or not these would be different at other times throughout the year.
From 2013 to 2015, Indiana has had water system testing in high schools. Out of almost 1,400 schools tested, about 40 tested for lead levels exceeding the minimum requirements of 15 parts per billion. North Vermillion High School along with the Baugo Community Schools in Elkhart, Indiana are among the 40 high schools.
When it comes to lead poisoning, one school with elevated lead levels is too many. The adverse health effects of lead poisoning are often life changing. In the case of North Vermillion High, early testing showed lead levels more the 3 times the EPA guidelines. More recent testing has resulted in better results, still any amount of lead in water children are exposed to.
Dr. Bruce Hatton stated that the highest tested levels were after a break when water was idle. The old water pipes leached lead into the standing water. Some of the water lines have been replaced which will help lower the levels, but my question is, is any amount of lead in a child system a good thing? And just how long have the children been exposed?
Most schools in the US are not required to test their water for lead. This is due to the fact that their water is provided by a public water supply that is tested regularly. Water testing kits are cheap. For as little as 30 bucks every school could test their water for lead. So why don’t they?
With all that has happened in Flint, a measly 30.00 or less would insure lower chances of lead exposure for children. Why would schools not make this part of their regular maintenance routine? Or better yet, require all schools to use a quality water filtration system? While a water filter system for an entire school would be costly, the right filter would reduce many contaminants giving our children access to clean, healthy drinking water throughout the school year.
Become familiar with what contaminates that could be making you or your family ill. Review Indiana’s ISDH water supply information. Contaminants such as lead are easily controlled with the use of a water filter. There is really no way of knowing at any given time what is contaminating water. Anyone can have their water tested at a reputable facility. If anyone questions the quality of their water, either test with a kit or send it off. Always be sure your water filter is listed with the NSF for truth in advertising.