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Pennsylvania schools have received a failing grade for their efforts to remove lead pipes and plumbing fixtures from the drinking fountains and faucets in its public schools. A report issued by the advocacy groups PennEnvironment and PennPIRG points out that the state’s lack of progress on this project poses a serious health risk to Pennsylvania students.
Health advocates urge legislators and policymakers to make the removal of lead-based plumbing in public schools a top priority. The risk of contamination remains high each day that children continue to drink from water fountains and faucets that contain lead. Lead poisoning is known to cause adverse health effects, especially in children.
Drinking water or inhaling contaminated dust containing lead particles can result in lead poisoning. During the building construction boom of the 1960s, lead was used in paint, plumbing pipes, and building materials used to build homes, schools, and offices. A strong connection between high levels of lead found in the blood of children with learning disabilities alerted health experts to the dangers of lead-based products.
Further investigation and research proved that lead poisoning has serious health effects, including:
Though the practice of using lead in building materials has ended, many plumbing systems and older buildings painted with lead-based paint contain harmful levels of the toxin.
Lead poisoning in adults and children can be prevented. Identifying areas in schools, homes, and other public establishments that still have lead pipes, plumbing, or paint is the first step in remediating the problem. Removing and replacing plumbing fixtures and other materials that contain lead can effectively protect children and adults from exposure to lead and its associated health risks.
Blood tests can reveal the presence of the toxin in the body. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests all children between one and two years of age be tested for the presence of lead in their blood. For those living in older homes or attending school in older buildings, continued periodic testing is recommended.
In some cases, removal of lead pipes and lead based paints may not be appropriate. Layers of paint in older homes may be easier to cover than to disturb. State health departments can offer information to assist anyone wishing to eliminate lead from their home, office, or school.
Although there is no acceptable level of lead, those whose tests indicate even low levels of the toxin in their blood should seek to remediate the source of the lead to avoid further exposure. Frequent blood testing should continue.
Health experts warn that those with a blood test revealing a lead level of 45 mcg/dl or above should seek immediate treatment. Chelation therapy uses an oral medication that lead adheres to, allowing it to be removed from the body through urine. EDTA chelation therapy is an injectable medication made for those who cannot tolerate the traditional form of chelation therapy.
If you have been injured by an environmental contaminate, call the Philadelphia environmental contamination lawyers at Williams Cedar at 215-557-0099, or 856-470-9777, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Our offices are located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey and we serve clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.