Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
Seven drinking water samples at secondary school exceed WHO guideline value

     Seven drinking water samples taken from a secondary school in Sha Tin have been found to contain lead in excess of the provisional guideline value for lead of 10 micrograms per litre set in the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality, a spokesman for the Education Bureau (EDB) said today (October 26).

     The spokesman said that the EDB and the Architectural Services Department took 20 drinking water samples from 20 different locations at Shatin Tsung Tsin Secondary School on October 13 and 19. The test results indicated that the lead content in seven of the drinking water samples ranged from 13 micrograms per litre to 39 micrograms per litre, which exceeded the provisional guideline value for lead of 10 micrograms per litre set in the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality. The remaining drinking water samples met the WHO guideline value.

     The spokesman said five of the seven drinking water samples with lead content exceeding the WHO guideline value were taken from five drinking water fountains at different locations. The lead content in those five samples was 13, 13, 16, 21 and 39 micrograms per litre respectively. The other two water samples were taken from the taps of a parents' resource room and a home economics room. The lead content in those two samples was 14 and 15 micrograms per litre respectively.

     The EDB has issued letters to inform the school, parents and staff concerned about the water testing results. Detailed arrangements of the blood taking and blood lead testing will shortly be provided to the school staff concerned through the school. Since some of the drinking water samples contained lead in excess of the WHO guideline value, the EDB has begun to install lead-reducing filters at all other drinking water outlets of the school. It will continue to liaise closely with the school and provide assistance as appropriate.

     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 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 school concerned, there are two lactating mothers among its staff. The DH will make arrangements for the two women to have blood taken for testing.   

     When blood test results are available from the HA, the DH will inform those persons who have received blood tests in writing via the school. 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. Anyone with an elevated blood lead level will have repeated blood tests in a specified period of time.

     The existing premises of Shatin Tsung Tsin Secondary School have been in operation since 2011. The school was built on an entrustment basis under the land grant provision concerned. The developer and grantee, as the works agent of the government accommodation provided in accordance with the land grant provision, were responsible for its design and construction and the supervision of the works at its construction site.

     The EDB will at this stage discuss the conducting of follow-up inspection of the internal water supplies system of the school with the grantee, developer, consultant and contractor of the school building project, as well as the school authorities, so as to tackle satisfactorily the source of the drinking water with lead content. The Architectural Services Department will provide technical advice.

     Up to October 26, a total of 1 160 drinking water samples have been taken for testing from 434 kindergartens and 34 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 and the seven samples in this school 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/Monday, October 26, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:37


Print this page