The Clean Water for US Kids™ program is designed to identify and eliminate childhood exposure to lead in drinking and cooking water in childcare centers, schools, and homes across the United States. You will receive a test kit including sample bottles, shipping labels, and instructional videos and writeups to guide you through the process. First, you will collect and ship water samples to us for laboratory analysis. Next, we will share your testing results with you, along with specific recommendations to remove lead identified in taps.
Early childhood exposure to lead can cause irreversible cognitive decline and behavioral difficulties at any level of exposure. While there is a ban on lead in paint and gasoline, there is still an allowable amount of lead in piping and plumbing used for drinking and cooking water. Lead can sometimes leach into the water from corroded pipes between the utility and the faucet. Older buildings and piping built before 1988 also may have piping and plumbing comprised of 100% lead. Children in childcare may unknowingly be exposed to lead from drinking and cooking water.
It’s common that the lead level detected in drinking water varies from tap to tap, which is why it is important to test every tap used for cooking or drinking. Sometimes tests may find lead in one tap, but not others - this indicates that there may be lead in some of the fixtures themselves (e.g., faucets) or the solder used in the plumbing. If lead is detected in all samples, there may also be elevated lead composition in the building’s main plumbing pipes, especially if the building was constructed before 1988. The level of lead in each sample also depends on when the samples were collected and can vary throughout the year based on water conditions, pipe deterioration, and use.
This doesn’t mean that we expect to find high levels of lead in your child’s drinking water. Our goal is to ensure that every tap used for drinking and cooking water is safe for children. This program is designed to find and fix problem taps so that children are drinking lead-free water while they are in childcare, at school, and at home.
For childcare centers and schools in select states: with a grant provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the cost for this initial testing through our portal is complimentary for states that partner with us.
For those who would like to test outside of the grant program: our Clean Water for US Homes portal allows individuals, schools, and childcare centers to purchase a test kit and participate in our program.
Citizen science uses public participation to collect scientific data and empower citizens to work with scientists to make progress on a large scientific issue. Using a community-based approach to testing and fixing lead in drinking water ensures that childcare administrators, staff, and parents understand the problem and can help take collective action to make improvements now and in the future. Childcare administrators, school staff, and others will become citizen scientists in this program and become empowered to help ensure that they are providing lead-free water for children. The program is designed to: