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Quality of drinking water at Kai Ching Estate

     A Government spokesman announced today (July 10) that the laboratory results of drinking water samples collected from different flats of different blocks at Kai Ching Estate together with previously announced test results are as follows:

* July 3:  The Housing Department (HD) and the Water Supplies Department (WSD) tested 33 drinking water samples collected from different locations at Kai Ching Estate. The results indicated that the lead content met the standard of the World Health Organization (WHO).

* July 7 to 8:  The HD and the WSD tested another 16 samples. The results indicated that the lead content met the standard of the WHO.

* July 9:  The HD and the WSD tested another 30 samples. The results received today indicated that the lead content in four of the samples was at 11, 14, 17 and 23 μg/l respectively and exceeded the standard of the WHO.

* As for the samples collected from the two flats where lead was found at soldering materials at pipe joints, the test results indicated that the lead content met the standard of the WHO.

     As mentioned in yesterday's press statement, the spokesman said with regard to the follow-up work of pipe parts, priority would be accorded to families with children under six, pregnant women and lactating mothers, and to provide them with alternative supply of drinking water before the completion of follow-up work. The HD will provide these families with bottled drinking water starting from this evening. Families concerned may go to the estate office for registration and collect the bottled water.

     According to the Department of Health (DH), from the health perspective, long term exposure to lead, which when accumulated in large amounts in the body, may result in anaemia, increased blood pressure, brain and kidney damage. The WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality has set a provisional guideline value of not more than 10 micrograms per litre for lead, it will pose no significant health risk for normal drinking by an individual within this guideline value.

     The levels of lead content in the above-mentioned samples represent no significant risk to health unless there is lifetime consumption. Exposure to this level of lead in drinking water is also unlikely to cause acute toxicity. Nevertheless, the authorities will expedite effort to deal with the problem of lead content in water.

     Before the problem of soldering materials with lead content is settled, residents are recommended to take precautionary measures which include flushing faucets individually before using water for drinking or cooking. Infants, young children under six years of age, pregnant women and lactating mothers should use alternative source of drinking water. The DH has set up a hotline (2125 1122) to answer questions on the effect of lead on health as well as to provide health tips, the hotline will operate from 9am to 9pm daily.

     The HD has instructed the building contractor to provide a resolution to locate all possible pipe parts which might contain lead, and to replace them as soon as possible with the least interruption to residents. The details will be announced to residents concerned at a later time.

Ends/Friday, July 10, 2015
Issued at HKT 21:38


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