In August 2018, EWG (Environmental Working Group) reported that 40% of schools in the U.S. had not even tested for lead in their drinking water. California requires testing for lead statewide for public schools grades K-12. However, their law does not apply to over 10,000 California childcare centers that are privately operated. Legislation is now being considered for the latter.
Most of us are aware by now that lead in drinking water can cause serious health problems, including brain damage. Although our Facebook page, A Quality Life web magazine, notified readers last year of a national drinking water data base, more action to address the problem is badly needed.
Did you know there is no safe level of lead? Low levels of lead exposure can still cause serious health risks, according to EWG research. For children, exposures could result in lower IQ or behavioral problems. In adults, it contributes to heart and cardiovascular problems.
In addition, EWG analysis of tests nationwide from public utilities indicate that the drinking water supplies of 14 million Americans is contaminated with the chemical TCE, which is a carcinogen.
Apple Valley, Minnesota, is one of the areas that tests the water quality of certain structures individually every three years. Individual households in this targeted grouping are provided with containers to collect samples. These structures were built before 1982 when lead sodder was used. According to a representative of the Apple Valley Water Dept., the city tests the general water supply for lead and copper every five years.
According to their 2017 Water Quality Report, “Apple Valley’s water meets or exceeds all Federal and State drinking water standards.” Monthly quality tests for taste, color, odor, hardness, iron, and manganese are done. A Quality Life blog was also referred to the Minnesota Dept. of Health for more information.
The Health Dept. reports that TCE (trichloroethylene) is a chemical used in many solvents, degreasers, wood finishes, adhesives, paint removers, stain removers, and in manufacturing of other chemicals.
The report further states that, “TCE spilled on the ground can move down through the soil into water under the ground where it may pollute private and public drinking water wells.”
In 2013, residents of a Minneapolis, Minnesota neighborhood sued General Mills. Apparently, TCE had been dumped years before and filtered into the soil and groundwater. General Mills installed ventillation systems (the same type used to remove radon) in problem properties.
The 2017 CCR (Consumer Confidence Report) for Minnesota found no violations for pesticides and industrial contaminants, which means they would fall below the MCL (maximum contaminant level). There were six violations for lead.
To find the CCR for your area, contact your local water company or the Health Dept. for your state. Well water testing (or lack of) varies from state-to-state and some well owners may be on their own or have new concerns.
The following resources may be helpful:
“How Safe is Your Tapwater?” post of Oct. 7, 2017, Check by zipcode A Quality Life web magazine on Facebook
EPA.gov Drinking Water Contamination
http://www.usgs.gov Water Resources
Dept. of Health (your state)
Home Water Testing
Simple Water mytapscore.com Simpltek www.simpltek.com
How You Can Help with Toxic Recycling:
Some areas provide year round hazardous waste recycling centers. Some also sponsor seasonal hazardous waste collection events usually in the spring and fall. You can search the internet for Hazardous Waste Disposal using the name of your city/county. Or, contact your city or county Public Works Dept. or information line.