ABOUT THE PROJECT
The WIIN project to test the drinking water for lead at Hawaiʻi schools and child care facilities is part of a nationwide program that was established by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016. As part of the WIIN Act, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted states money to test drinking water for lead at schools and child care centers. The project is a collaboration between the Hawaiʻi State Departments of Health, Education, and Human Services.
February – April 2021: Schools and child care facilities involved in the project will have pre-planned visits from members of the project team to identify the drinking water taps that require sampling.
May-December 2021: Initial sampling will occur at schools and child care facilities. Site visits and sampling by the project team are not expected to interfere with any regular school or child care activities.
June 2021 – April 2022: Results will be updated as samples are processed by the laboratory.
WHY TEST FOR LEAD?
Lead is a heavy metal that is naturally present in the environment and has been used for infrastructure, including pipes. When lead gets into human bodies, it can harm the brain and nervous system. Long-term effects of childhood lead exposure include problems with learning, school performance, attention, and behavior as well as anemia and other health problems.
Children can be exposed to lead in many ways. Most exposures happen at home and are the result of deteriorated lead-based paint or contaminated soil. The lead transferred onto a child’s hands or toys may be accidentally ingested when the hands or toys are put into their mouths. Eating paint chips or chewing on painted surfaces can also introduce lead into a child’s body. Other lead exposures happen from the mouthing of metal objects, the making of fishing weights, and exposure to certain types of imported spices and ritual products. Visit http://lead.hawaii.gov for more information on lead sources and how to protect your children from lead exposure.
Drinking water contaminated with lead is another way that children can be exposed. While this has been a significant problem in some communities on the mainland, Hawaiʻi has not had the same types of problems with lead contaminated drinking water. Public water systems in Hawaiʻi do not historically have lead contamination. However, it is possible for lead to contaminate drinking water through fixtures and piping within a school, particularly in older buildings. This project will investigate the drinking water taps at risk for lead and identify any problem areas to prevent children from being exposed to lead.
All COVID-19 safety procedures will be followed by the project team. For more information, please see: WIIN Project COVID-19 Safety Plan
CHILDHOOD LEAD POISONING AND PREVENTION:
- Hawaii Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (HI-CLPPP) https://lead.hawaii.gov
- Your child’s pediatrician
EPA GUIDELINES FOR THIS PROJECT:
- EPA WIIN Grant website https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/wiin-grant-lead-testing-school-and-child-care-program-drinking-water
- EPA’s “3T’s for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water Toolkit” https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/3ts-reducing-lead-drinking-water-toolkit
QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS PROJECT IN HAWAII:
- Call the Department of Health’s Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response (HEER) Office at 808-586-4249
MORE HELPFUL LINKS
DOE Public Schools
DHS Licensed Child Care Facilities
- WIIN Project Flyer – Residential Child Care Facilities
- WIIN Project Flyer – Commercial Child Care Facilities