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Drinking water sample from dispenser at secondary school exceeds WHO guideline value for lead content

     A drinking water sample taken from a wall-mounted dispenser at a secondary school in Yuen Long has 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 (December 15).

     The spokesman said that the EDB and the Architectural Services Department took two drinking water samples, one each from a wall-mounted dispenser at the office pantry and a wall-mounted dispenser at the tuck shop, at the Queen Elizabeth School Old Students' Association Tong Kwok Wah Secondary School on December 9. The test results indicated that the lead content in the drinking water sample taken from the office pantry dispenser was 11 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 drinking water sample from the tuck shop dispenser met the WHO guideline value.

     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. The EDB 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 has been focusing its resources on pupils below 8 currently attending affected schools 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 pregnant women and six lactating women among its staff. The DH will make arrangements for the women to have blood taken for testing.

     The HA will inform those women who have received blood tests of the blood test results. If the blood lead level exceeds the reference value, the DH will take appropriate action, including conducting lead exposure assessments. They will have repeated blood tests in a specified period.

     Up to December 15, a total of 2 213 drinking water samples have been taken for testing from 772 kindergartens and 73 schools (public sector and Direct Subsidy Scheme primary and secondary schools built with government funding in 2005 or after). Except for 10 samples from wall-mounted dispensers at eight kindergartens, seven samples from one secondary school and two samples from two wall-mounted dispensers at two secondary schools which had 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/Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:03


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