Clean drinking water is an essential component of every child’s education. It is imperative for the health and well-being of the students and the faculty members alike. Unfortunately, many schools across the Midwest have been struggling with dirty drinking water, and the situation is far more serious than anyone realizes.
In this post, Office H2O dives into the topic of how US schools are combatting dirty drinking water. This is a subject that we care passionately about since education is the foundation of our kid’s future, and they all deserve the best learning environment, which includes access to clean drinking water! So, let’s uncover the types of contaminants found in school water and their impact on learning and the schooling environment.
Types of Contaminants Found in School Water
Schools across the Midwest have been struggling with dirty drinking water, and the contaminants found in school water are diverse. Some common ones are lead, arsenic, copper, mercury, and bacteria. Lead is particularly harmful as it can cause brain damage, hearing loss, and developmental delays in children. Lead in the water has also been the main focus of concern for schools in recent years, leading to several investigations into the state of the water quality in the United States.
Arsenic, another known water quality problem, is a carcinogen and can cause skin, bladder, and lung cancer. Copper, when ingested, can cause gastrointestinal irritation and liver damage, while mercury can damage the nervous system. Bacteria can cause illnesses such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. The list could go on and on. So, it just makes it that much more imperative that we pay attention to the quality of the drinking water our kids have access to while at school.
The Impact Contaminated Water is Having on Learning
Contaminated water has a profound impact on students’ learning and cognitive development. Consistent exposure to harmful contaminants like lead may result in developmental delays and learning disabilities, inhibiting the child’s ability to focus, grasp new information, and perform academically. Similarly, bacteria in water can lead to health issues such as stomach upset and foodborne illnesses, leading to absenteeism and a consequent disruption in the learning process.
A study by Brown University revealed a strong correlation between lead exposure and lower test scores, poor classroom performance, and an increased likelihood of children displaying disruptive behavior. This makes it clear that access to clean and safe drinking water isn’t just about physical health; it’s a key element in ensuring an optimal learning environment for every child.
Why Parents and Administrators Should Be So Concerned
Parents and school administrators should be profoundly concerned about the quality of their school’s water supply for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, contaminated water poses a significant health risk to children, which can lead to severe long-term health issues. No parent or school administrator would want the students under their care or instruction to suffer the consequences of drinking polluted water.