Dangerous Levels of Lead Detected in Water of Two Portland Schools
In two Portland public schools, high levels of lead were detected. They failed to follow protocols and did not let parents know of the water contamination.
About the Lead Contaimination
According to the district, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found maximum levels of nervous system damaging lead in 14 fountains and sinks found at Creston and Rose City Park.
While eventually apologizing, Portland Public Schools emailed parents stating that they failed to follow protocol when it continued to keep fountains and sinks supplied with water.
Reuters reports that umerous schools and communities across the U.S have been battling lead issues in their water. Public officials are being blamed, they are said to poorly handle the crisis, and 3 officials were criminally charged.
Elizabeth Silva, a furious mother of two in Portland responded to the issue in an email: “I actually became a bit shaky, that type of heart-pounding mad. I was shocked that they would knowingly allow children to drink poisoned water.”
The district then vowed to take steps to address the lead issue, and shut off the fountains, while providing bottled water for drinking and food preparation. Disposable plates and utensils will also be used for the remained of the school year. Students will be tested for lead poisoning starting June 6.
Important Information on Lead Exposure
Information provided by the EPA:
- The EPA set the level of lead allowed in water at zero, being that lead is a toxic metal that can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels.
- In children, low levels can cause damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of the blood cells.
- For pregnant women, exposure to lead can cause reduced fetus growth as well as a premature birth.
- For the average adult, lead exposure can cause cardiovascular problems, hypertension, decreased kidney function, and reproduction problems