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Lead in Drinking Water - FAQs

The following are frequently asked questions about lead in drinking water:

Is my child at risk of lead poisoning from drinking water?

No. Most sources of lead contamination for children come from paint manufactured before 1978, “take home” exposure (i.e. an adult unintentionally bringing lead from work to household), soil contaminated from unsafe work practices and some home remedy treatments.

What action are you taking?

The LAUSD in 1988 implemented a plan that calls for flushing district drinking water fountains for 30 seconds each morning to ensure that the drinking water in our schools is safe. In response to recent concerns about lead in drinking water, the District has initiated additional testing and inspection programs at all schools to verify compliance with the flushing policy.

Is the water in my home safe?

Parents and guardians should be aware that lead in drinking water may exist in homes and other areas throughout the community. Any structure constructed before 1989 with galvanized pipes or pipes where lead solder was used may leach lead into drinking water. In 1993, the U.S. EPA issued guidelines for households to flush faucets to reduce the amount of lead in drinking water.

Can't you just replace all the pipes?

Wholesale replacement of piping may not be required since lead can leach into water from several sources, including lead solder and brass fittings. Each incident needs to be examined carefully to determine the exact source of the lead, with appropriate follow-on action. That said, the district has spent $93 million on more than 600 projects throughout the District replacing old water pipes. We estimate it would cost more than $330 million dollars to replace pipes in all schools. The District does not currently have sufficient funding to allow the replacement of water pipes in all schools. Even without complete re-piping, the District’s policy of testing and flushing is designed to ensure that lead levels in drinking water remain below the EPA guidelines.


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