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Newark to Test 17,000 Students for Lead After Years of Elevated Water Levels

City Asks for Water Donations After Lead Found in Public Schools’ Drinking Water

Newark will be testing 17,000 of its students for lead after testing revealed elevated levels of lead in some of its schools' water. The city made the decision to turn off water fountains in 30 school buildings after tests revealed elevated levels of lead in the drinking water last week. 

"The district, Newark Public Schools, told the State Department of Environmental Protection on Monday that annual testing found concentrations ranging from undetected to above the department’s action level for lead, which is 15 parts per billion. That level requires additional testing, monitoring and remediation,” said the New York Times.

Newark’s problems with its drinking water come during a heightened time of concern after the water crisis in Flint, M.I.

But according to the Times, regulating lead levels in school systems’ drinking water is a "a longstanding issue in the United States and has been a focus of federal and local regulators.”

The State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) told parents they need not be concerned over their children having drank the water because "the act of drinking water is usually not associated with elevated levels of lead in the blood on its own.”

Parents, however, are speaking out about the school system’s reaction time.

"Christopher Cerf, superintendent of Newark Public Schools, told CBS2 he was first briefed on the issue on Monday. However, parents were not notified until Wednesday afternoon,” said CBS2.

Cerf told CBS2 the delay in notifying parents was so a plan could be in place and that it was not of “high-level emergency nature” to be dealt with that day.

The DEP said it found no lead in the city’s source water. The likely cause of the problem is old lead pipes that need to be replaced, it said.

For parents still concerned for their child’s safety despite reassurance from officials, the Newark Health Department is offering blood tests for lead to the 17,000 students that may be affected, CBS2 said.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

3/10/2016

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