Posted on

Lead fears grow in Newark schools, but the problem isn’t new



TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — In New Jersey’s biggest city, fears are growing over lead in the school district’s water after a lab found elevated levels in nearly half its schools. The Newark district quickly shut off sinks and fountains in 30 buildings and has offered to test as many as 17,000 kids for contamination.

But the problem isn’t new for the state’s largest school district. Testing has shown elevated levels in some buildings over the last few years. And the district has been addressing issues of lead in the water since at least 2003.

The highest lead levels found in the water in Newark’s schools, however, are far lower than those found in homes in Flint, Michigan, which is experiencing a crisis after the city changed its water supply.

Water also poses a relatively small risk of lead poisoning compared to more common sources, such as lead paint.

“One square centimeter of lead paint, about the size of your pinkie nail, has two times what you’d get from drinking a quart or water from highest level of lead in one the schools,” said Dr. Steven Marcus, executive director of the New Jersey Poison Information & Education System at Rutgers University.

Nevertheless, parents are concerned, with dozens submitting their kids for blood tests when the district first offered them on Thursday.

“My first thing was, Flint, Michigan,” said Dionne Bradshaw, whose daughter was tested. “That’s the first thing I thought about. Ok, here we go again.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *