If a resident’s lead testing indicates 8 ppb or 12 ppb, they should not, and must not, conclude that they are “safe” from lead in water. In fact, no amount of lead exposure is safe. There is great variability with testing; a first draw (filling a 1-liter bottle first thing in the morning) may indicate 5 ppb one morning and 50 ppb the next day. The best way to determine whether you have lead in your water is to find out if you have lead pipes or interior lead plumbing (including solder and fixtures) present.
Women for a Healthy Environment works to protect immediately those most at risk. Our organization has been working in schools and early learning centers for the last year, helping personnel test for lead in water. WHE has been working with community partners to develop a thoughtful filter program to protect those most vulnerable — pregnant women and children (especially those being bottle-fed). Recently, several hundred filters were delivered to our office for distribution to family programs in the city. We thought it would be useful to share a few insights and lessons learned in our own work and through conversations with colleagues in Flint, Mich., Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and elsewhere.