• R&B Staff

Dangerous Lead Levels Found in Tallahassee Schools' Water

According to The Tallahassee Democrat, tests from water fountains in Leon and Wakulla County schools showed dangerously high levels of lead. The tests were taken in the month of August by Professor Don Axelrad and his graduate students.

Exposure to lead is well-known to cause many health problems in children, including lowered IQ and learning disabilities. Adults exposed to lead can suffer severe health defects such as heart and kidney damage.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, 15 parts of lead per billion in drinking water is dangerous; this is what the agency calls its "action level." While only two of the tested locations, including the W.T. Moore Elmentary cafeteria tap, which tested at nearly 25 ppb, were above this "action level," several others showed dangerous levels, as well. Scientists say that no level of lead is "safe."

Below is the data from the tests conducted in August:

Woodville Elementary drinking fountain: 9.21 lead ppb

Ruediger Elementary cafeteria tap: 9.71 ppb

W.T. Moore Elementary cafeteria tap: 24.90 ppb

W.T. Moore Elementary drinking fountain: 10.41 ppb

Killearn Lakes drinking fountain: 18.17 ppb

Killearn Lakes cafeteria tap: 10.23 ppb

Hartsfield drinking fountain: 7.3 ppb

Springwood drinking fountain: 8.41 ppb

Water experts say that lead levels tend to be higher in the morning after water in the pipes has collected and sat overnight, and some authorities in the Tallahassee schools claim that the numbers are not as bad as they may appear.

Ronnie Youngblood, the district's divisional director for maintenance, said,

"When we did our testing and we saw the levels, we talked with the principals of the schools and put in a flush program. We did not feel like the level was at a point to cause alarm, and it was very quickly correctable.”