Article Theme – Water Conservation
Student Journalists: Keondra E., Kei’mariya W. & Trinity Wright – 6th Grade
School: Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg in Florida.
Editor: Laura Manke, 5th & 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher
CLICK HERE to watch the video created by the 6th Grade Community Cares group! They collected 45 water samples from homes in their community.
Imagine you are sick in the hospital for days. The doctors are trying to figure out what’s wrong with you. They discover you have lead poisoning. The doctors are working hard to find a cure for you. Today you ca prevent this scenario. You can prevent lead poisoning by testing your water to see if it has lead in it. Academy Prep St. Petersburg (APSP) students tested the water in Midtown St. Petersburg to check for the presence of lead in the water.
Lead is severely dangerous. It is dangerous because it can hurt people in many ways. For many adults, lead can cause high blood pressure and memory problems (“Lead Poisoning and Health,” 2016) For children, this can cause behavior disorders, effects on brain development, anemia, and hypertension (“Lead Poisoning and Health,” 2016). Lead can be found in paint and water. It is dangerous when found in the water because people cook and drink the water. Water needs to be clean because that’s the main resource and used to keep people healthy and hydrated.
In Flint, Michigan, the water was dirty and contained lead. When Michigan officials switched water sources in Flint, it caused lead and iron in the water (Ganim & Tran, “How Flint, Michigan’s Tap Water Became Toxic”, 2016). After the water was switched, people started noticing that it looked dirty and it tasted funny. Since the “water wasn’t treated properly, lead began to go into the water supply.” (Ganim & Tran, “How Flint, Michigan’s Tap Water Became Toxic”, 2016) This lead to many people in Flint, Michigan getting sick.
Lead found in Flint, Michigan water made APSP students curious to what was in their own water. First, APSP students created a group called Community Cares to test water in Academy Prep students’ homes. To test the water AP students had to go through a process. The process was as follows: first, wait 6-8 hours with the water off. The water is kept off to allow possible lead to build up in the water in the pipes. Second, fill three water bottles with tap water. While filling the bottles, the water will stay on full blast. The first bottle filled should be the largest bottle. Once full, start a timer for 45 seconds. When time is up, fill the medium sized bottle. Then wait two minutes. After the two minutes, fill the small bottle of water. Once full shut the water off and be sure all lids are tight.
Once the sampling was complete, APSP students sent the bottles to the lab. A total of 45 samples were collected and tested. When the results came back they showed that every sample had lead in it. Results ranged from high amounts of lead to low amounts with the highest amount being 13 ppb; PPB stands for parts per billion. According to our source at the Department of Health (DOH) in Hillsborough County, you don’t have to take action unless the reading is 15 ppb or greater.
Our source at the DOH did recommend testing your water, putting charcoal between the spout and the aerator on the faucet, and running the water for 20 seconds before you use it. She also recommended to cook with cold water, which can be less harmful than warm water.
In summation, lead can be harmful to your body and severely hurt you. This is why APSP students took action to test their water. Although lead was found in all samples, most levels were low and all levels were below the 15 ppb that would mean you need to get water bottles or a filter. Make sure you are safe and healthy by testing your water for lead today.
Ganim, S., & Tran, L. (2016, January 13). How Flint, Michigan’s Tap Water Became Toxic. Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/11/health/toxic-tap-water-flint-michigan/
Lead Poisoning and Health. (2016, September). Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs379/en/