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One drinking water sample at kindergarten exceeds WHO guideline value

     The testing of drinking water from a further 33 kindergartens has been completed. The test results indicated that the lead content in one of the 74 drinking water samples taken was 64 micrograms per litre, which exceeded the provisional guideline value for lead of 10mcg per litre set in the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality. The remaining 73 drinking water samples met the WHO guideline value, a spokesman for the Education Bureau (EDB) said today (October 22). The kindergartens are listed in the Annex.

     The spokesman said two drinking water samples were taken from Windsor Anglo-Chinese Kindergarten in Sha Tin by the Water Supplies Department on October 20. The lead content in the drinking water sample taken from the water tap of the inside service system in the kitchen of the kindergarten met the WHO guideline value, while the lead content in the drinking water sample taken from the tap of a wall-mounted dispenser in the same kitchen was found to exceed the WHO guideline value.

     The Department of Health (DH) and the Hospital Authority (HA) have, after reviewing the relevant literature and research from local medical sectors and overseas health organisations, defined the groups which are more easily affected by lead as children aged below 6, pregnant women and lactating women. The HA will focus its resources on pupils currently attending the affected kindergartens and relevant teaching staff who are more easily affected by lead, i.e. pregnant women and lactating women, for arranging blood taking and blood lead testing.

     According to the kindergarten concerned, the water in the wall-mounted dispenser was used for drinking by both staff and students. There are no pregnant or lactating women among its staff. The DH will make arrangements for the three students of the kindergarten to have blood taken for testing.

     The EDB has issued letters to inform the kindergarten, parents and staff concerned about the water testing results and will shortly provide relevant information and blood test arrangements for the kindergarten concerned for dissemination to the students' parents and staff. The kindergarten will collate parental consents and other information for the EDB's follow-up. The EDB will liaise closely with the kindergarten in respect of organising the visit for blood taking on the day of appointment, and will provide assistance as appropriate.

     When blood test results are available from the HA, the DH will inform those persons who have received blood tests or their parents in writing via the kindergartens. Those with a blood lead level exceeding the reference value will be separately informed by phone. The DH will take appropriate action, including conducting lead exposure assessments and making arrangements for students to undergo preliminary developmental assessment. Anyone with an elevated blood lead level will have repeated blood tests in a specified period of time.

     Up to October 22, a total of 1,058 drinking water samples have been taken for testing from 414 kindergartens and 28 schools (public sector and direct subsidy scheme primary and secondary schools built with government funding in 2005 or after). Except for the eight samples from the wall-mounted dispensers of six kindergartens which had a lead content exceeding the WHO guideline value, all the drinking water samples met the WHO guideline value. The latest test results have been uploaded to the EDB website ( and updates will be made when more test results are available.

Ends/Thursday, October 22, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:33


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