The exposure of young children to excessive levels of lead in the water at their schools is being reported throughout the country. Recent publications from researchers at the Environment America Research & Policy Center, the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation indicate widespread contaminated drinking water throughout many states.
Dangerous amounts of lead typically enter a school water supply through the corrosion of metal plumbing components. Lead corrosion can occur over time depending on a variety of factors, including the amount of wear and tear on pipes, water temperature, length of time water remains in the pipes, and the presence of protective metal coatings.
Most states have failed to institute a mandatory lead testing program requiring schools to test drinking water for excessive lead levels. Schools that rely on a public water system for their source of drinking water are not required under federal law to test this water for potential contamination. According to government records, less than half of public schools perform any lead testing on their plumbing fixtures, including faucets, fountains, and metal pipes. In those states where schools periodically test for lead, over 40 percent of facilities had at least one water sample test positive for excessive lead levels.
Exposure to excessive levels of lead can result in serious physical injuries and permanent disabilities, especially in young children. Most medical experts agree that even a small amount of exposure to high lead levels in drinking water is unsafe for small children. Students exposed to excessive lead levels can see major impacts on their learning and physical growth. Lead contamination can cause a wide range of medical conditions including:
Under U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines, bottled water must contain five parts per billion or less of lead to avoid these dangerous health risks. Researchers believe it is highly likely children are being exposed to lead levels higher than this in the drinking water at their schools.
Individuals exposed to high lead levels can develop serious medical conditions resulting in significant medical expenses. The costs of ongoing medical treatment, prescription drugs, rehabilitation services, including occupational or physical therapy, and hospital stays can be overwhelming for families caring for a sick child. To obtain compensation for these injuries, injured individuals can file a civil lawsuit against those parties responsible for the lead contamination, including the manufacturers, marketers, and installers of lead plumbing fixtures and any entity, including a school district or municipality, that negligently maintained their drinking water supplies. The first step in determining whether compensation is available is contacting an experienced environmental lawyer.
If you or a loved one has been contaminated by excessive lead levels in your drinking water, the experienced Delaware environmental lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. are here to help. Our offices are conveniently located in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, to serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County. To schedule your free initial consultation today, call us at 302-656-5445 or submit an online inquiry form.