Seattle Arsenic Scare

You only have to flip through the archives of DiseaseProof to see how dangerous childhood exposure to toxic chemicals can be. The Seattle Times reports that Seattle residents received a scare when the drinking water of five Seattle schools was found to have arsenic levels that exceed government guidelines. Emily Heffter and Warren King report:

Dr. Catherine Karr, director of the University of Washington's Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, said the long-term risk to children would be very low.

Her rough calculation: If 1 million children, each day for five years, each drank one liter of water with arsenic slightly above the federal standard of 10 parts per billion (ppb), about 10 to 30 more cancers of the bladder or lungs would result.

Water from drinking fountains at five schools—Gatewood, Leschi, Loyal Heights and Van Asselt elementary schools and Alternative Elementary No. 2—was found to have arsenic levels between 11 and 18 ppb.

Only one of the fountains had been in use—at Van Asselt, for eight days, according to district officials.

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