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Excessive lead levels in drinking water a 'danger for young children'

It was revealed yesterday that 41 schools, businesses and homes across the country have been found to have excessive levels of lead in the supply because of old pipes.

Image: running tap image via Shutterstock

FIANNA FÁIL TD Barry Cowen has called for confirmation that Irish Water will address high levels of lead in drinking water as part of its ‘First Fix Free’ policy.

It comes in the wake of a report in the Sunday Business Post which revealed that 41 schools, businesses and homes across the country have been found to have excessive levels of lead in their water supply. The information emerged after tests carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The excessive levels of lead are believed to be connected to old pipes, with lead from them dissolving into the water supply. Today, Cowen said basic water provisions for schools and other public services must be a priority and the quality of water must be maintained. He called on the government to confirm that Irish Water’s policy of fixing leaks would be extended to cover replacing these pipes.

“We cannot have a situation where schools and businesses are paying water charges but then don’t have adequate drinking water,” he said. “Excessive levels of lead in water is a health risk and poses particular danger for young children.”

“While Irish Water contends that this is an issue for the Department of Education, we need to see proper communication and co-operation between these state bodies to ensure there is clean drinking water for children and adults,” he added.

Irish Water has said it is aiming to eliminate lead pipes, targeting supplies with the highest lead levels first.

Read: Irish Water denies that 600,000 people are without emergency repair coverage>

Read: Irish Water has advised people to give their toilets “a smaller flush” to save water>

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