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Education

Testing Finds Unsafe Lead Levels In Drinking Water At 2 More CMS Schools

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Unsafe lead levels were found in drinking water at two more Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, according to a statement released by officials Tuesday afternoon.

The test results found lead levels that exceed state standards for safe drinking water in two fixtures, a water cooler in the cafeteria of Garinger High School and a classroom sink at Northeast Middle School. Officials say the two fixtures have been taken out of service.

“Our voluntary, proactive testing will ensure all students and staff have safe, clean drinking water,” CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said. “We will continue to share the results as they become available.

Thursday’s report brings the number of schools found with unsafe lead levels in the district’s second round of testing to six. CMS reported four other schools with lead last week. The second round of testing began in mid-September and includes 35 CMS sites, including middle and high schools, built before 1989.

The district voluntarily tested 58 schools last fall, finding lead in water at 27 schools. The results came back in March, but CMS did not release them to the public until reports about the testing appeared in the media this summer. Officials have said that fixtures found with unsafe lead levels have been shut off and replaced.

CMS officials have previously maintained that the lead levels were not found to be harmful. But the Environmental Protection Agency says lead can be “toxic to human health even at low exposure levels. Young children are particularly vulnerable to lead, the EPA says, and can be linked to issues like behavioral problems, lower IQ and slow growth.