Lead has been found in the water once again in Gilbert House. Gilbert was one of the buildings that had tested positive for lead back in January along with Smith House, S.W. Bowne and the Rose Library. While campus officials announced they were taking steps to remedy the problems, the issue is still present. Additionally, no new updates have been given to the Drew community besides the first announcement in January. Student Stefanie DeFronzo (C’20) expressed her concern that “others have may have been consuming contaminated water” as well as “what this means for the rest of Drew’s water.”
Professor Christopher Andrews, who works in the building, commented that they do have a water in the cooler in the building and the school “has been replacing the pipes over the summer and should be done soon.” However, there has been no announcement as to when the work may be completed.
The EPA has set the maximum contaminant level goals for lead as zero because it is highly toxic. Lead can accumulate in the body over time and become harmful to health even at low levels, though it is more harmful to children than adults. Some of the effects of lead consumption in adults include increased blood pressure, hypertension, cardiovascular effects, decreased kidney function, and reproductive problems. However, lead in the water is not harmful if it is not consumed. Washing your hands or showering in contaminated water is safe because lead is not absorbed through the skin.
Students should be aware about what is in their drinking water on campus and at home. This should also draw attention to more issues of clean drinking water throughout the United States to Drew students.