REPORT: 55 Percent Of New Jersey Schools Have Dangerous Lead In Water


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Bergen County, New Jersey has discovered that more than the drinking water in more than 47 school districts has unsafe levels of lead. An environmental advocacy group released their stunning findings yesterday, causing school officials, parents, and legislators to go into a tailspin.

The lead amounts in many of the schools were considered “high.”

According to NorthJersey.com

The majority of the districts surveyed by Environment New Jersey had at least one fountain or sink where lead readings exceeded 15 parts per billion — the level set by the Environmental Protection Agency that requires districts to take some action.

Many of the schools that tested for lead have shut off their water fountains.

“It shows that the problem is pervasive, that it hits all different kinds of districts,” said Doug O’Malley, executive director of Environment New Jersey. “Bergen is the most populous county in the state, and it’s a microcosm of New Jersey, because you have wealthy areas, middle-class suburbs, and urban areas.”

Often, lead is the result of archaic plumbing pipes, rather than the water source. Experts say that even low exposures to lead can be detrimental to health.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that even at 1 part per billion, a person’s health could be compromised.

Some schools have already removed sinks and pipes as a reaction to the unsafe readings. About 10 percent of the fountains and sinks in the report’s 47 districts had lead levels above 15 parts per billion. Overall, the lead levels averaged about 5 to 6 parts per billion per district, O’Malley said.

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