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Roseburg schools complete testing for lead in water districtwide

(File/SBG photo)

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Roseburg Public Schools has completed all testing and retesting and received the results for lead in facility water fixtures districtwide, officials reported Thursday.

Of the 1,214 samples taken, 207 (17.05 percent) of the faucets that were retested were found to contain more than the Environmental Protection Agency’s lead-in-water limit, .020 parts per million, for schools, the report said.

Of those above that lead level limit, 35 were drinking bubblers, 168 were sink faucets (98 of which were science lab fixtures), two were kitchen sinks and two were other types of kitchen equipment.

"District officials were pleased to learn that very few of the fixtures most often used for drinking or meal preparation tested above the EPA limit," a Roseburg Public Schools news release said.

The district plans to replace all 207 fixtures that were above the .020 ppm lead limit, officials said. Any fixtures not changed before school starts on Sept. 6 will be disabled until the changes are made. All fixtures that are changed will be tested a third time to ensure they are below the EPA limit of .020 ppm.

Roseburg Public Schools leadership has connected with Douglas County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Dannenhoffer to talk about the risk of exposure to lead through water.

What district officials learned from Dr. Dannenhoffer was that, while exposure to lead is a concern, the likelihood of serious injury from lead through drinking water is low -- unless the water lead level is very high or a tremendous amount of water is ingested, officials said.

Dr. Dannenhoffer also said that a look at Douglas County children’s blood lead levels over time shows the county is far below the national levels. This makes lead poisoning in the county a relatively low public health risk, compared with the county’s top three health concerns, such as smoking, obesity/exercise and safety belt usage, according to the district news release.

Dr. Dannenhoffer said if parents remain concerned about their child’s exposure to lead from school water, the best recommendation is to see a primary health provider and ask that a blood test for lead be ordered.

Number of water fixtures that retested above the EPA limits for schools (.020 ppm of lead in water) by school:

Eastwood: 1

Fir Grove: 3

Fullerton: 2

Green: 6

Hucrest: 7

Melrose: 14

Rose: 15

Sunnyslope: 2

Winchester: 10

Fremont: 74 (50 are science lab fixtures)

JoLane: 71 (48 are science lab fixtures)

RHS: 2

District Office: 0

A complete list of testing results throughout the district will be available on the district’s homepage, www.roseburg.k12.or.us, on Friday, Aug. 26.

Parents and community members with more questions are encouraged to contact Superintendent Washburn, 541-440-4014, or gwashburn@roseburg.k12.or.us.

Other resources with more information about lead exposure can be found at:

• Douglas Public Health Network’s website, www.DouglasPublicHealthNetwork.org , following the Aug. 24 meeting on lead toxic-blue green algae and Zika virus; or

• The Oregon Health Authority’s Healthy School Facilities page, https://public.health.oregon.gov/HealthyEnvironments/HealthyNeighborhoods/HealthySchoolFacilities/Pages/index.aspx

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