Elevated Lead Levels at Five More Chicago Schools
Elevated lead levels have been found in water in five more Chicago public schools, bringing the total number of schools affected to 19.
About the Lead Levels
Chicago Public Schools officials say the district has tested water at 224 of 324 school buildings that were constructed prior to 1986.
In the latest results, water from one sink at the Blair Early Childhood Center, a specialty school for disabled children, showed lead levels as high as 1,100 parts per billion.
Concern about lead in drinking water increased this year after the discovery of elevated lead levels in Flint, Michigan, water.
“Given heightened awareness nationally about lead exposure for children and to provide parents with timely information, Chicago Public Schools is taking proactive steps to ensure that our children's drinking water is safe across all schools by testing every school in the district,” district spokesman Michael Passman said in a statement.
District officials say water at all public schools will be tested.
Important Information About Lead Poisoning
According to the World Health Organization:
- Too much lead can damage various systems of the body including the nervous and reproductive systems and the kidneys, and it can cause high blood pressure and anemia.
- Lead accumulates in the bones and lead poisoning may be diagnosed from a blue line around the gums. Lead is especially harmful to the developing brains of fetuses and young children and to pregnant women.
- Lead interferes with the metabolism of calcium and Vitamin D. High blood lead levels in children can cause consequences which may be irreversible including learning disabilities, behavioral problems, wrongful deaths, and mental retardation.