House staffers could’ve been drinking lead-tainted water for months

House staffers who work in Cannon House Office Building may have been exposed to lead-contaminated water for as long as nine months, according to a notice sent to chiefs of staff late Wednesday and obtained by POLITICO.

The notice stated that before recent lead tests, the last previous tests were conducted in September and turned up clean — meaning the water could have become tainted anytime after that. It said that while Environmental Protection Agency safety standards stipulate that water should contain less than 15 parts per billion of lead, the Architect of the Capitol found that 5 out of 26 drinking water areas that were sampled recently had 17, 18, 20, 25 and 56 parts per billion. That’s a 20 percent contamination rate, and the latter number — 56 parts per billion — is more than three times the safety limit.