Lead is harmful to human health and has a bigger impact on children than on adults.
While lead is a naturally occurring element, it can be toxic. Lead can be found in the air, water, soil, and in a wide variety of products, including pipes and plumbing fixtures, water faucets, paint, ceramics, batteries, gasoline, make-up and cosmetics, and ammunition.
Lead in the water used for drinking and cooking accounts for about 20 percent of what most people are exposed to. Babies who rely on formula can get 40 to 60 percent of their lead exposure from drinking water. This makes it a good focus point for reducing lead exposure, especially for children.
The good news is that everyone can take simple steps to reduce lead exposure in drinking water.
The SipSafe program, conducted by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is working to reduce lead exposure in children ages birth to 5 years by screening water in qualifying schools and child care facilities.
The program will:
- Communicate educational information about lead in drinking water, lead testing, and how to understand test results.
- Train officials at participating school and child care facilities to share information about lead in drinking water and ways to reduce student exposure to lead in drinking water.
- Test drinking water in participating schools and child care facilities to identify potential sources of lead.
- Take action through the development of curriculum materials, educational and outreach materials, a social media toolkit, and planning materials for addressing test results for participating schools and child care facilities.
The EPA website provides basic information about lead in drinking water and its impact on human health.
Cooperating partners for this statewide project include:
- MSU Extension
- Mississippi Department of Health
- Mississippi Department of Education
- Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory
- University Of Mississippi Lead in Drinking Water Team
- University of Mississippi Sea Grant Law Center
Interested in participating in SipSafe? Contact Justin Palmer via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 662.325.0520.
A Mississippi State University Extension Service program is organizing a list of qualified child care centers and schools in anticipation of funding for addressing lead in drinking water. Facilities with sample results that show elevated levels of lead in drinking water will be flagged for funding on a first-come, first-served basis in order of participation date and highest levels of lead exposure.
You probably know how dangerous lead is, especially for children. Even low levels can have long term effects on a child’s development. The most important thing you can do is lessen your exposure or avoid lead exposure altogether.