SCHOOLCHILDREN across Western Australia may be exposed to lead contaminated water because the same plumbing materials plaguing Perth Children’s Hospital could also be in schools, an expert has warned.
Peter McCafferty, chief executive of the state-run ChemCentre, told a parliamentary inquiry on Wednesday that the same brass fittings responsible for leaching lead into the drinking water supply at the beleaguered project were probably used in schools across the state.
Schools are at an even greater risk of lead leaching due to water stagnation over the long school holiday period, he said.
Mr McCafferty recommended flushing pipes before the start of every school year.
He said ChemCentre had informed the state government of the potential problem in June but would also formally recommend water analysis at new schools and government buildings across the state.
ChemCentre has tested 21,000 water samples at Perth Children’s Hospital in the past year to investigate the source of the contamination.
The project is already long overdue and an opening date remains elusive.
WA’s Chief Health Officer completed a review into lead in the water at Perth Children’s Hospital last month and concluded that it was caused by the “dezincification of brass fittings”.