New Testing Shows Your Child's School Likely Has Elevated Levels of Lead

After retesting all water fixtures in public schools, the city has found elevated levels of lead in 1,278 school buildings — 83 percent of public schools.

These new numbers come after the city retested all water fixtures in all public school buildings — more than 132,000 fixtures across the five boroughs.

Eight percent of those fixtures produced water with lead levels considered unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Lead poisoning can damage organs and the nervous system and cause developmental delays.

"Any fixture in our buildings that tested above guidance, we have immediately either shut off the water so that students cannot drink from it until we are able to replace that fixture and remediate it and we get new test results back below guidance," Deputy Schools Chancellor Elizabeth Rose said.

Education officials say all of those fixtures were immediately turned off.

At P.S. 200 in Harlem, 12 faucets had to be turned off, and one water fountain was found to have lead levels more than 75 times higher than the threshold for use.

"Yes, it is a concern. I have three children that go to this school," said Rosemary West, a parent of students at the school. "It's a shame that the board of education can't do something better than take care of our kids,"

"Maybe that's why a lot of them are falling behind right now, because of the lead count in their bodies," West added.

Earlier testing suggested there much less of a problem, but those results have been discredited after the city acknowledged it had let the water run for hours before testing it.

Experts say that flushes out the lead, which comes from pipes and faucets in the buildings, not the water supply.

An environmental engineer, Marc Edwards, who helped discover the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan spoke with NY1 via Skype.  

"There is no safe level of lead exposure, and certainly anything over 15-parts-per-billion is cause for concern," said Edwards, a professor of environmental engineering at Virginia Tech.

But at many city schools, lead was found at much higher levels.

At I.S. 27 on Staten Island, a fixture tested at 32,500-parts-per-billion. Faucets are turned off at 15-parts-per-billion.

Department of Education officials said water in schools is safe for students and staff to drink.

The city's First Deputy Health Commissioner says concerned parents should speak to their child's pediatrician.

All parents should have received a letter from the city with the specific results from their children's schools.

School-by-school findings can also be looked up on the Department of Education's website. 

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