This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Critical Opportunity: Lead in Drinking Water at Child Care Facilities




Stanbrough, Elizabeth

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Civil and Environmental Engineering


There is no safe level of lead exposure. As exposure from point sources like lead paint have been reduced through legislation, non-point sources such as drinking water have become a greater proportional source of total lead exposure. Even at low levels, lead exposure is shown to harm children, contributing to impaired development as well as learning and behavioral issues. This paper summarizes the key results of an Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) pilot study conducted at 11 child care facilities in 4 US states to evaluate approaches to testing and remediating lead in water at child care facilities. Ten of 11 child care facilities produced at least one sample above 1 g/L, the action level recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Fixture flushing, aerator cleaning, and fixture replacement were evaluated as remediation strategies. The LCR revision approved December 2020 was found to be inadequate in prompting mitigation at locations where lead was widespread in this facility sample set.