National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The City of Fort Worth will present a series of informative articles during the week. The theme of this year’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future.
With children spending more time in day care facilities, safety and sanitation is a top priority. Testing for lead in drinking water at day care facilities is also important because children spend a lot of time in these facilities and are very likely to consume water while there.
Fort Worth’s Code Compliance Department has been inspecting commercial day care centers since an ordinance took effect in 1992. Testing for lead in the drinking water is part of those inspections.
Even though water delivered from the city’s public water supply must meet federal and state standards for lead, a building’s plumbing may contribute to elevated lead levels in drinking water.
Lead is a toxic metal that can cause permanent health damage, especially in children under 6. Young children staying at day care centers are constantly using tap water and are at a greater risk of being exposed to lead and copper if the water pipes are leaking those metals.
The city’s health inspectors test the tap water in day care centers to identify potential risks of lead and copper exposure to children. This allows the operator to remediate the risk before they open for business.
The city inspects 220 permitted day care facilities. Inspections are conducted before issuing a health permit. Additionally, day care centers will be inspected when there’s a change of ownership, if they are newly built, when water pipes have been repaired or replaced or when a complaint arises.
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