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High Levels Of Lead Found In Englewood Hospital Drinking Water, Patients To Be Tested

Update Date: Jan 19, 2017 11:02 PM EST

Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey has switched to bottled water and tank water throughout its eight-building campus after its water has been tested to contain high levels of lead.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) contacted Englewood Hospital and notified it about the elevated lead levels.

On Dec. 21, 2016, water samples from some of the hospital's buildings were found to contain lead that exceeds the federal action level of 15 parts per billion. The highest level recorded at the campus was 1,206 parts per billion, the Record of the USA Today reports. Thus, the center stopped using water from its taps and opted to use bottled water and tank water instead.

The hospital is providing lead tests to its workers, patients, and visitors who entered the hospital since September 2015. Hospital officials said that they would especially encourage children under 6 and anyone who was pregnant to get tested.

According to CBS Local, the hospital has set up a hotline for patients with concerns.

Effects Of Lead To The Health

Lead is a naturally-occurring toxic metal found in the Earth's crust. Its widespread use has resulted in human exposure in many parts of the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that lead is a cumulative toxicant that can affect multiple body systems and is specifically harmful to young children.

When the human body is exposed to lead, it is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones. Moreover, lead in the bone is released into the blood during pregnancy, posing serious health threats to the developing fetus.

Children, those under 6 years old, are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead and can suffer profound and adverse health effects. Lead can affect the development of the brain and nervous system. In the long run, lead poisoning in adults may include an increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage.

Pregnant women who were exposed to high level of lead may lead to stillbirth, miscarriage, premature birth, minor malformations on the fetus and low birth weight.

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