Lead Testing December 2020

Dear Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

The District places the health and safety of our students and staff as a top priority. In accordance with state law “all school districts and boards of cooperative educational services are required to test water for lead contamination at least every five years, and to develop and implement a lead remediation plan where applicable.” In a sincere effort to be transparent to our community, the school district is notifying you of our findings.

Munn Elementary School had water testing done on November 13. The district received the report on December 8 from the water samples, which indicated some faucets within the school building have elevated levels of lead in the water. All identified faucets are going to be immediately closed to drinking until successfully reduced to acceptable federal levels. 

Please recall a similar experience in 2016-17, when we tested our water quality and remediation was required. Key points to note include:

  • The district has verified that the water coming into the school district from the County Water Supply does not reflect any lead contamination. Therefore, this issue is limited to specific faucets.

  • NYS law requires that all infants and children be tested for lead levels by their physician or other health care provider at age 1 and again at age two. Therefore, the impact of lead testing at the most vulnerable ages is already in place, so a child can be monitored before damage from lead poisoning occurs. Whenever a child shows elevated blood lead levels, New York State requires an in-home investigation of probable lead sources, like peeling or dusting lead paint manufactured before 1978.

  • Experts from the New York State and the County Public Health Departments have reassured the district that children eating the peelings or dustings of old lead paint, NOT drinking water, is the most common vehicle for lead poisoning. The district does not have any peeling or dusting of old lead paint. 

  • Not only were the levels of lead in our identified water faucets relatively low, and not only is water not the typical source of elevated blood lead levels in children, but also children would need to consume enormous volumes of water contaminated with high levels of lead, more than they realistically can do to cause dangerously elevated blood lead levels. 

Although the New York State Department of Health and the County Public Health Department do not think the school drinking water is a significant source of lead, and although the risk of lead poisoning from water is low, the district cannot say there is no risk. Therefore, again out of an abundance of caution, the district recommends that if you have any concerns about your child and lead exposure, we encourage you to discuss the matter with your primary care physician or other health care provider to determine whether further lead testing is warranted.  Some reasons you may have concerns over lead levels in your child include:

  • that you live in a house or apartment built before 1978 when lead paint had not yet been outlawed, if the house has not been fully repainted with non-lead containing paint, and especially if you have bubbling, peeling, or flaking paint on walls or window sills or door jams

  • that you have seen your child eating non-food items, such as paint chips or chewing on window sills or door jams

Please rest assured that we will continue to keep your child’s health and safety as a top priority.  We are continuing to monitor and will correct our plumbing system as needed, and in doing so we will continue to make our lead monitoring program even better. 

Yours in partnership,

Mike Canny


AN INFORMATION NOTICE TO PARENTS, GUARDIANS, and STAFF
Spencerport Central School District
Lead Testing Program of School Drinking Water

Why Test School Drinking Water for Lead?
Lead from any source can cause health problems in children.  Lead is most dangerous for pregnant women, infants, and children under 6 years old.  Exposure to high levels of lead during pregnancy contributes to low birth weight and developmental delays in infants.  If lead is found at any water outlet in a school at levels above 15 µg/L (micrograms per liter), or parts per billion (ppb), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends taking action to reduce the exposure to lead. This is called an “actionable” level, meaning, if detected, mitigation efforts are needed. The EPA action level of 15 ppb of lead in drinking water was established based on reasonable risk assessments. It is the level that requires additional corrective and educational actions, but does not necessarily directly correlate to increased blood-lead levels. Blood-lead levels are reflective of a variety of factors, such as age; exposure to dusts, paint chips, or soil containing lead; and the amount of lead contaminated water consumed daily. For women exposed to lead in the past, pregnancy can also affect blood-lead levels by releasing lead that was stored in bones. Nationally, the biggest source of increased blood-lead levels in children is the ingestion of lead-based paint chips. 

Sources of Lead in Drinking Water
Lead is a common metal found in the environment.  The primary source of lead exposure for most children is lead-based paint manufactured before 1978, the year that lead in paint was outlawed.  Other sources of lead exposure include lead-contaminated plumbing materials, especially older ones experiencing corrosion. Drinking water exposed to faucets that contain lead is one possible source, but a less common source of lead exposure. In addition, lead can be found in a number of consumer products, including certain types of pottery, pewter, brass fixtures, food, and cosmetics.  

The District receives its drinking water from the County Water Supply.  The County routinely tests for lead and their results meet NYS drinking water standards. While water coming into our buildings is within federal safety standards for lead, plumbing materials including pipes, some soldering material, new brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including even those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute to lead in drinking water. Flushing typically can lower the presence of lead in water. 


ADDITIONAL REFERENCES

AAP Healthy Children:
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/all-around/Pages/Blood-Lead-Levels-in-Children-What-Parents-Need-to-Know.aspx

CDC:

Lead home page:
http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/

Lead in drinking water:
http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/tips/water.htm

National Institute Environmental Health Sciences:
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/lead/