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Safe Drinking Water - Lead Notices

The Ritenour School District is committed to the safety and well-being of our students and staff and is complying with the new Missouri state law, Get the Lead Out of School Drinking Water Act.

The Missouri Legislature passed the Get the Lead Out of School Drinking Water Act in the spring of 2022. Lead is a toxic metal that can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels. Lead is persistent, and it can bio-accumulate in the body over time. 

Young children, infants and fetuses are particularly vulnerable to lead because the physical and behavioral effects of lead occur at lower exposure levels in children than in adults. A dose of lead that would have little effect on an adult can have a significant effect on a child. In children, low levels of exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing and impaired formation and function of blood cells.

Provisions of the Get the Lead out of School Drinking Water Act dictate that during the 2023-24 school year, all schools must provide drinking water that has a lead concentration level below five (5) parts per billion (ppb). On or before January of 2024, schools must identify all outlets for drinking water or for all cooking purposes and then develop a plan for testing of those water sources. Before students return to school in August of 2024, all testing must be done an da plan developed for any needed remediation. This plan must be publicized.

Additional Resources

Lead is rarely found in source water like groundwater or rivers. Typically, lead in water is the result of corrosion, or the wearing away, of lead-containing materials in the water distribution system such as pipes and faucets. Since 1986, all plumbing materials must be “lead-free”. The law currently allows plumbing materials to be up to 0.25 percent lead to be labeled as “lead-free”. While there are fewer amounts of lead used in newer water distribution systems, corrosion still occurs. When water stands in lead pipes or plumbing systems containing lead for several hours or more, the lead may dissolve into the drinking water. In such circumstances, the first water drawn from a tap in the morning typically contains the highest traces of lead. Lead in drinking water, although rarely the sole cause of lead poisoning, can significantly increase a person’s total lead exposure. The EPA estimates that drinking water can make up 20% or more of a person’s total exposure to lead. According to the EPA (, children of any age are susceptible to the effects of lead, with children under the age of 6 being most at risk. While effects may vary in scope and severity, the EPA reports that lead might lead to behavior and learning problems, lower IQ, hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems and anemia. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the impact of lead exposure on children can be impacted by a variety of factors including age, nutrition, the source of exposure, length of time of the exposure, and other underlying health conditions. Elevated levels of lead in women who are pregnant can also be harmful, possibly severely, to both babies and mothers. Your physician or healthcare provider can provide additional information regarding the effects of lead exposure and, with respect to one’s health history, whether testing for lead should be considered.

For questions about Ritenour's compliance with this new state law, please contact Michael Smith, Director of Operations at (314) 493-6075.