Choose Safe Places: Water Lead Testing
Free Drinking Water Lead Testing Available for Child Care Facilities
The State of Tennessee is committed to helping all children get off to a healthy start. To support this goal, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) is offering water lead testing to Head Start/Early Head Start facilities and Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) licensed child care centers at no cost. This opportunity is completely voluntary for any Head Start/Early Head Start facilities and TDHS-licensed child care centers who would like to have their water tested.
Why Should I Participate in this Opportunity?
Infants and young children are especially sensitive to lead exposure. Water can be a source of lead exposure, especially in buildings with older plumbing. Lead can enter drinking water through plumbing materials that contain lead. Testing water in child care facilities is important because children spend a significant portion of their days in these facilities and likely consume water while there.
The State of Tennessee strongly encourages Head Start/Early Head Start facilities and TDHS-licensed child care facilities to take advantage of this free opportunity to test the water for lead – particularly if food, drinks, and/or formula are prepared on-site.
How Will the Testing Work?
Participating facilities will be provided a lead testing kit with bottles, instructions and pre-paid return shipping labels. Testing results will be shared with the facility as soon as possible, but no later than two weeks following the completion of testing.
What if I Find a Problem?
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) will provide technical assistance to facilities for responding to test results and addressing elevated lead levels when necessary. Through its mini-grants program, the TDHS may assist its licensed agencies in addressing sources of lead exposure, if needed.
More information on lead and reducing lead in drinking water can be found in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 3Ts guidance document.
How Do I Get Started?
To request a lead testing kit, contact the Tennessee Department of Health Laboratory Services staff by phone at (615) 262-6300 or by email at Lead_Testing.Support@tn.gov.
Proper Sample Collection for Lead Analysis in Drinking Water
The Tennessee Department of Health Laboratory Services has a video to walk you through proper procedures for collecting water samples for lead analysis.
Tennessee Department of Human Services
Tennessee Department of Health - Laboratory Services
Contact us at ChooseSafePlaces.TN@tn.gov