New York Daily News

Schools rule lead is no peril


CITY STUDENTS can safely consume drinking water at the public schools despite elevated levels of lead detected in water at 509 school buildings, officials said Monday.

City officials found the high lead levels in 1,341 samples taken from public school buildings in March, April and May. But the amounts did not indicate potential harm to students, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said.

“Families can rest assured that water in school buildings is of the highest quality and is safe for students and staff to drink,” Fariña said.

“Schools are following the aggressive flushing and remediatio­n protocols that the Department of Education has had in place for years. We continue to update families and school staff throughout the process.”

The findings from the latest round of tests conducted at 1,520 school buildings echoed the results of an earlier round of tests concluded in March, which showed water sources in the public


schools are mostly safe from lead.

Most instances of elevated lead are caused by old plumbing and fixtures, city officials said.

When elevated lead levels are discovered, Education Department staffers take corrective measures such as replacing old plumbing, city officials said.

But only 201 water samples out of 112,584 samples collected in the city’s study showed elevated lead levels after the water fixtures were flushed, city officials said.

Lead poisoning in children has been linked to a slew of health problems, including slowed body growth, behavior problems and reduced intelligen­ce.

Queens College environmen­tal science Prof. Steven Markowitz said there is no safe level of lead for human consumptio­n, but called the city’s test results reassuring overall.

He said the results of the city’s lead tests should be no cause for concern for the families of 1.1 million kids currently enrolled in the city’s public schools.

“To me this is a good process and a good result; it’s nothing to worry about,” Markowitz said. “The reassuring thing is that the city did a huge amount of testing and found a low number of positive samples.”


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