The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 29, 2005

UI Provides Oakdale Campus Employees And Visitors Information On Lead In Water

Concern about relatively low levels of lead leaching out of plumbing in some of the older buildings on the University of Iowa's Oakdale Campus has triggered a public information release by UI officials. The information applies only to the Oakdale Campus and does not affect the main campus water system.

A round of water sampling conducted on the Oakdale Campus early in the year found unacceptable levels of lead in two of the samples, triggering the information release. The lead is not being produced by the Oakdale Hospital Water System, but can leach out of pipe solder or brass fittings in the older buildings as water stands in pipes. Water first drawn from the tap in the morning, or anytime the water has been standing in the plumbing for an extended period, can contain higher levels of lead.

Users of the Oakdale campus system are being advised to let water run from each tap for 15-30 seconds before using it for drinking or cooking. Water should be flushed from each faucet before using it for drinking or cooking. Hot water more easily dissolves lead, so users are advised not to use hot water for drinking or cooking.

Federal law requires notification when the level of lead in more than one sample exceeds 15 parts per billion. Of 10 samples taken in the Oakdale Campus test, two exceeded the action level resulting in a reported lead level of 16 parts per billion. Chronic exposure to high levels of lead can pose a significant risk to health, building up in the body over many years, causing possible damage to the brain, red blood cells and kidneys. The greatest risk is to young children and pregnant women.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One,

CONTACTS: Media: Charles S. Drum, 319-384-0048, charles-drum@uiowa.edu; Program: Ken Lloyd, 319-335 5167, kenneth-lloyd@uiowa.edu