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Education

Unsafe Lead Levels Found At Three More CMS Schools

drinking fountain
Pixabay.com

Testing at more Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools found unsafe levels of lead in drinking water at three more district schools.

CMS said Tuesday afternoon that high lead levels were found in two water fountains at Providence High School, two classroom sinks at Randolph Middle School and a water fountain at Northwest School of the Arts. The district said most of the fixtures have been taken out of service. One of the sinks at Randolph Middle could not be disconnected, and signage has been put up to warn students not to drink the water and to use the sink for hand-washing only.

The district also tested fixtures at Eastway and Albemarle Middle Schools and found no problems with the drinking water at both of the schools.

Tuesday’s report brings the number of schools found to contain water with unsafe lead levels to 15 this school year, and 42 since testing began. Last month, testing found high lead levels at 12 district schools.

The district voluntarily tested 58 schools last fall, finding unsafe levels of 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.

Community activists called on CMS to be more transparent with the water testing process, prompting the district to release results as testing progressed. Officials have said that fixtures found with unsafe lead levels in the first round of testing 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.