NeighborImpact Head Start Sites Test Lead-Free

Awareness around lead in Oregon drinking water is rising and schools throughout the state have discovered high levels of lead in their drinking water. Children are especially susceptible to lead exposure due to the higher rates at which their bodies absorb metals when compared with adults. To ensure the safety of the children in its community, NeighborImpact tested all of the organization’s Head Start sites for lead.

Head Start is a pre-school program offered by the nonprofit which provides quality classroom learning, in addition to resources that enable access to health and dental care, family support, nutritional meals and more.

NeighborImpact tested all 8 Head Start sites in Deschutes and Crook Counties for lead and found 100% of sites are lead free.

“This is great news for the Head Start children, families and staff,” said Patty Wilson, Director of Programs at NeighborImpact. “We take the health and safety of our students and staff seriously and are very grateful that our results are within normal limits.”

The Oregon Department of Education, Early Learning Division outlined key steps that should be taken by child care environments to keep children safe from lead in drinking water.

  1. Identify sources of lead: Early learning environments should test all taps used for drinking or food to identify any lead problems. Follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s 3 T’s Revised Technical Guidance to ensure that samples for lead are collected properly and from the right places. Use an Oregon Health Authority-accredited drinking water laboratory to analyze samples for lead.
  2. Stop Access: Prevent access to water taps that have more than 15 parts per billion (ppb) of lead. This should include shutting off taps, covering water fountains, and providing bottled water to students and staff members.
  3. Communicate: Make results from tests for lead in water available to students, families, and the community as quickly as possible.
  4. Mitigate and correct: Replace the sources of lead in building plumbing. Again, EPA 3T’s Guidance should be followed.

For more information about our lead testing or about the NeighborImpact Head Start program, please contact Patty Wilson at 541-323-6519 or via email at