As more news continues to surface about the lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, what Texas safeguards are in place to ensure a city’s water supply is safe enough to drink?
The Texas Department of State Health Services monitors and tracks the lab results for blood lead levels in children younger than 15 years old, which spokeswoman Christine Mann says starts with a family's pediatrician, hospital or clinic.
“And so physicians, laboratories, hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities must report all blood lead tests to the, what is called the Texas Child Lead Registry,” Mann said.
Mann says if any child’s blood sample contained a higher than normal lead concentration, the state would begin to investigate and look for a source of the contamination. But she says in the State of Texas most of their cases are not from a residential drinking water supply.
“Typically exposure to lead can occur from lead-based paints and those are typically older homes built before 1978. Also, exposure can occur from imported pottery, cosmetics, candy and toys,” Mann explained.
According to the Lead and Copper Rule under the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act, those managing a drinking water system must control the corrosivity of a water supply using a mandatory EPA treatment technique so that the water doesn’t leach potential lead and copper from a systems pipeline. If those lead levels begin to exceed federal guidelines the water system operators are required to inform the public immediately.