Charlestown Elementary School will be providing bottled water to students and staff because high lead levels were detected in drinking water samples collected at the school on May 16th. The exceedances were identified at two taps in the school. Bottled water will be provided until corrective actions are completed. The school district is communicating this information directly to parents and guardians, and will issue a public notice when bottled water is no longer required.
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and Charlestown Elementary School are partnering closely to identify the source of the lead exceedances. Routine monitoring for lead was last conducted in November 2017. There were no exceedances at that time.
Because Charlestown Elementary School has an independent water system, these results are specific to the school.
Lead is common metal found in the environment. The main sources of lead exposure are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust or soil. Drinking water is also a possible source of lead exposure. Most lead gets into drinking water after the water leaves the local well or treatment plant and comes into contact with plumbing materials containing lead. These include lead pipes, lead solder (commonly used until 1986), as well as faucets, valves, and other components made of brass.
Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to pregnant women, infants, and young children. For younger children, long-term impacts could include learning disabilities, loss of IQ, and reduced attention span. If you are concerned about exposure, you should contact your healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child's blood lead level tested.
For more information, contact the Chariho School District at 401-364-7575 or RIDOH at 401-222-5960. For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home and the health effects of lead, visit EPA's web site at www.epa.gov/lead, call the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD, or contact your healthcare provider.