Albany, NY - March 1, 2017 - The New York State Department of Health announced today that it is launching a pilot program that will allow residents that are served by either a private well or public water system an opportunity to have their drinking water tested for lead free of charge.
“This program will increase access to lead testing across the state,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker. “Residents can take the opportunity, free of charge, to test their tap water for lead and based on the results, make informed decisions about their drinking water to best protect their health and that of their loved ones.”
Residents interested in participating are encouraged to sign up on the Department’s website.
Testing under this pilot program will continue as long as funds are available. Residential tap water testing will consist of two samples per dwelling-a first-draw and a flush sample. Residents will collect and send the samples to one of the participating laboratories within 30 days of receiving the sample kit. The laboratory will analyze the samples and are expected to mail the results back to the resident within 30 days from the date the samples were received.
Lead is a toxic metal that is particularly harmful to the developing brain and nervous system of children under six. Lead can affect a young child's growth, behavior, and ability to learn. During pregnancy, exposure to lead may contribute to low birth weight, preterm delivery, miscarriage, and developmental delays in infants.
It can be found in soil, air and water, but the main source of lead in homes continues to be older paint, the dust it generates, and various consumer products. Water testing helps identify lead contamination that may come from and enables homeowners to eliminate one possible source of lead exposure for children.