17 water fountains throughout Chesterfield County Public Schools tested for unsafe levels of lead

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Seventeen water fountains throughout Chesterfield County Public Schools were found to have unsafe levels of lead, according to a letter sent out to parents at Cosby High School Wednesday night.

Lead levels fewer than 15 parts per billion (ppb) are considered acceptable for drinking water, according to the CDC.

At Cosby, lead tests showed the affected fountain had 101 ppb; nearly seven times the safe limit.

According to the CDC, lead found in tap water usually comes from the corrosion of older fixtures or from the solder that connects pipes. When water sits in leaded pipes for several hours, lead can leach into the water supply.

While children 6-years-old or younger are the most vulnerable to lead poisoning, an EPA health sheet says that lead exposure in adults can lead to cardiovascular problems, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension, decreased kidney function, and reproductive problems.

In 2017 a state law was passed requiring public schools to develop and execute a plan to test drinking water in schools built in or before 1986.

Chesterfield County expanded its testing and tested all water sources in schools built after 1986 for lead and copper.

Principal of Cosby High School Ben Snyder said that the school division immediately took the water fountain offline, and that is is being replaced with a new fountain and filters.

In 2018, Chesterfield Schools sent letters to parents and students to them know that elevated levels of lead had been found at water fountains at seven different schools.

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