Lead remains in Denver public schools’ water

Although the worst cases of lead-tainted water in the Denver public schools have been treated, there are still many water fountains and faucets that are contaminated, according to a recent article in Denverite.

All but 10 public schools in Denver tested positive in recent years for some amount of lead in at least one water source, the article said.

A Denver Public Schools spokesman quoted in the February 25, 2019 article pointed out that lead levels in school drinking fountains are below what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calls “actionable”—15 parts per billion. But according to experts, as well as the EPA website itself, any level of lead can cause harm. Lead has been linked with physical and cognitive problems in children, and can cause permanent brain damage.

The school spokesman said that water samples used in the lead testing were from the “worst-case” scenario early in the morning, before faucets and fountains had run. But Ronnie Levin, visiting scientist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said, “Then at eight o’clock, 500 children come in and they drink the water. This is a routine exposure.”

Read the Denverite article: There’s still lead in the water at Denver Public Schools. Nobody has to do anything about it.

Learn more

Report: Lead levels too high in many U.S. schools (Harvard Chan School release)