February 21, 2020

A new fact sheet aims to demystify tap water contamination and provide clear information on tap water safety for childcare providers and for parents of young children.

There are over 20 million children aged 5 and under in the United States and over half of them attend center-based childcare (as opposed to care by friends and family).  Facilities participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) are required to make potable (safe) water available and offered throughout the day. States may have their own more stringent licensing requirements for drinking water provision in childcare and other states may require all licensed childcare facilities to comply with CACFP standards. But all families with young children should have safe drinking water.

Lead is a particular concern in the early years because young children are most vulnerable to its toxic effects. Infants fed formula that is reconstituted with tap water are at highest risk, if the tap water has unsafe le...

Discusses the importance of providing access to safe, quality drinking water in schools; the current state of tap water in schools; and what steps can be taken to improve drinking water quality and encourage healthy hydration habits.

December 4, 2017

Concerns over drinking water quality and possible disease transmission, as well as widely-publicized water contamination incidents, are contributing to a declining numbers of public drinking fountains across the United States.

In this Pacific Institute report, the authors examine epidemiology studies and other evidence of drinking fountain-related health issues. They find limited evidence of a causal relationship between illness and the use of drinking fountains. Further, problems that were identified can be traced to contamination from poor cleaning and maintenance or from old water infrastructure in buildings, rather than contamination at the point of use.

To ensure the safety and continuance of this valuable public resource, the report authors recommend:

  • Establishing comprehensive monitoring and testing of all drinking fountains;

  • Developing and implementing standard protocols for water fountain maintenance, repair, and replacement;

  • Creating broad nationwide effor...

September 11, 2017

What are the health benefits of drinking water? How can we encourage water consumption at school? What do we need to consider in addressing school water quality? Find user-friendly answers to these questions—and many more—in a new trio of fact sheets. 

The University of California Nutrition Policy Institute created three new downloadable fact sheets on drinking water in school settings. The fact sheets are available now on the National Drinking Water Alliance website.

Healthy Hydration teaches the benefits of drinking water in place of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Effective Access to Water in Schools uses a visual to show nine ways water can be provided and promoted in a school cafeteria.

Drinking Water Safety in Schools graphically shows where lead can enter tap water in schools and provides an overview of steps to take to ensure tap water safety.

School administrators and staff, parents, local school boards and the broader school community will find helpful information about the im...

June 27, 2017

Drinking water, public health, and obesity prevention stakeholders gathered for an interactive workshop at the 9th Biennial Childhood Obesity Conference on May 30 to share ideas and discuss strategies.

Hosted by the National Drinking Water Alliance and University of California Nutrition Policy Institute, participants updated one another on the latest and greatest in drinking water via a “Data Walk,” organized into the four buckets of Alliance activity: research, policy, access and safety, and education and promotion. They also brainstormed strategies for focusing on infants and young children, as well

as messaging on water safety and promotion.

Session highlights included:

  • New recommendations for infant and toddler beverage intake

  • An update on a new product from Brita that filters for lead

  • Findings from University of Washington’s Center for Public Health Nutrition research on water access and student and staff perceptions about water in high schools

  • Effor...

May 30, 2017

Where is tap water putting children at risk and how are state leaders responding?

University of California Nutrition Policy Institute and the National Drinking Water Alliance just released an interactive map identifying places across the country where drinking water has been rendered unsafe to drink by lead or other contaminants. The map was created to fill a gap:  there is little readily accessible information on the extent of tap water contamination across the U.S. 

Each pin tells a story: you can link to news articles about drinking water contamination around the U.S. You’ll see the states that have adopted policies or programs to test for lead in schools and childcare, and the states considering such action. You can sort each incident by Congressional district. The tool bar on the upper left side provides a legend feature and a layers feature to access the different types of information.

How does tap water get contaminated?  Source water can be contaminated by heavy...

April 3, 2017

We all want to live in #HealthyCommunities and access to safe drinking water is a huge part of that. Here's how one school district ensured students and staff are getting safe water.

In 2016, the St. Paul School District in Minnesota set out to ensure that all students and staff had access to safe drinking water. Between April and August 2016, they tested more than 6,500 samples from across the district’s 72 buildings for lead and copper, collecting samples from every tap from which students or staff might drink water, and all food prep taps.

Testing showed that the vast majority of taps (96.5%) were below the lead action level specified by the EPA and the Minnesota Department of Health. Of the 3.5% that tested above the action level in the first draw sample, only 13 taps tested high for lead after 15 seconds of flushing. The district’s facilities department immediately shut off all taps that tested above the action level in either test and worked quickly to remediate those fixt...

March 27, 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is engaged in a process to derive a new, health-based benchmark for lead in drinking water.  EPA’s draft report on approaches to develop such a benchmark is in a public comment period (ends April 5, 2017). Currently, through the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR), EPA sets an action level for lead that essentially signifies a lead level at which water systems must undertake corrosion control actions.

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), in response to EPA’s draft report, has posted an excellent series of articles with clear explanations of the factors and considerations that underlie an understanding of lead exposure hazards:

  1. “With draft report, EPA takes major step to help communities assess risks from lead in drinking water” (Jan. 13) explains the approaches used by EPA to model a health-based benchmark.
     

  2. “When it comes to lead, formula-fed infants get most from water and toddlers from food, but for highest exposed children the mai...

October 31, 2016

Making safe drinking water “readily available to all students, regardless of family income or school location” is one of several recommendations for drinking water policy made in Trust for America’s Health recently released Blueprint for a Healthier America 2016: Policy Priorities for the Next Administration and Congress

The report also discusses the urgent need for a robust environmental health system and cites the Flint, MI water crisis as just one example of widespread threats to the health of low-income and minority communities across the country, and the need for a strong and equitable system. 

In order to support the “uncomplicated” right to environmental health that everyone in the US deserves, the report recommends:

  • Enabling federal, state, local, and tribal governments to focus on prevention

  • Building a health system with a proper workforce that can track disease outcomes and exposures

  • Implementing real-life solutions based on research 

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