Lead in Drinking Water – Public and Nonpublic Schools
IMPORTANT NOTICE: ELEVATED WATER SAMPLE RESULT(S)
DeMatha Catholic High School
ELEVATED LEAD WATER SAMPLE RESULT(S)
All Maryland public and nonpublic schools are required to sample all drinking water outlets for the presence of lead pursuant to the Code of Maryland Regulations. On May 12, 2021, one hundred & fifteen (111) lead water samples were collected from DeMatha Catholic High School. Of these lead water samples, two had levels of lead exceeding the action level of 20 parts per billion (ppb) for lead in drinking water in school buildings. The elevated lead results from the sample(s) collected at DeMatha were as follows:
DM CONV 7201 NE – 23.2
DM CONV 7204 S. CTR – 31.6
ACTION LEVEL (AL)
The AL is 20 ppb for lead in drinking water in school buildings. The AL is the concentration of lead which, if exceeded, triggers required remediation.
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. Lead is stored in the bones and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the fetus receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development. 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.
SOURCES OF HUMAN EXPOSURE TO LEAD
There are many different sources of human exposure to lead. These include lead-based paint,
lead-contaminated dust or soil, some plumbing materials, certain types of pottery, pewter, brass fixtures, food, and cosmetics, exposure in the workplace and exposure from certain hobbies, brass faucets, fittings, and valves. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 10 to 20 percent of a person’s potential exposure to lead may come from drinking water, while for an infant consuming formula mixed with lead-containing water this may increase to 40 to 60 percent.
IMMEDIATE ACTIONS TAKEN
The two sites indicted above have been appropriately labeled as unsuitable for drinking at this time and are no longer being used. Both sites will be mitigated and re-tested within 10 days. Mitigation will include equipping both sites with appropriate filters to remove lead.
After point of filtration, devices have been added to fixtures, samples will be repeated to measure lead levels.
TO REDUCE EXPOSURE TO LEAD IN DRINKING WATER:
- Run your water to flush out lead: If water has not been used for several hours, run water for 15 to 30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking.
- Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula: Lead from the plumbing dissolves more easily into hot water.
Please note that boiling the water will not reduce lead levels.
For ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
- For additional information, please contact R.E. (Rick) Reeves, Jr, MS Environmental Toxicology at 240-764-2262. For additional information on reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/lead. If you are concerned about exposure, contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead.