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The Nation

The Environmental Protection Agency urged local school officials to test their water coolers for possible lead contamination. The EPA said water coolers made by Halsey Taylor, EBCO Manufacturing Co. and Sunroc Corp. are known to have components made of lead, a toxic metal that is especially harmful to young children and pregnant women. The agency said some of the water coolers cited for containing lead components may have as little as one lead-soldered joint and that only testing will determine whether a given water cooler poses a health threat. Health experts say even short-term exposure to low levels of lead can damage the brain and nervous system, leading to hearing problems, learning disabilities and blood disorders. As required by the Lead Contamination Control Act passed by Congress last year, the EPA issued a “guidance document” outlining water testing procedures for local school officials to follow.


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