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Testing Finds Unsafe Lead Levels In 4 More CMS Sites

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Lead levels in four more Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools exceeded state safe drinking water standards, according to test results released Tuesday. CMS officials say test results of lead levels at 11 other schools showed no problems.

Unsafe lead levels were found in two classroom sinks at the Performance Learning Center on West Sugar Creek Road. A kitchen sink in the press box concession stand at West Charlotte High School also had lead levels above state standards. A sink in a room at Bishop Spaugh and a sink in the teachers’ lounge at the Project L.I.F.T offices also showed high lead levels. CMS officials say all of those sinks have been taken out of service.

"We will continue our voluntary proactive testing so that we can ensure all students and staff have safe, clean drinking water,” CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said in a news release. “We will also share the results as they become available.”

No lead was found in the water at the following schools: Villa Heights Elementary, the Leadership Academy, Piedmont IB Middle, North Mecklenburg High, Hawthorne Academy of Health Sciences, West Mecklenburg High School, Cochrane Collegiate Academy, Coulwood STEM Academy, Sedgefield Middle, Wilson STEM Academy and Alexander Graham Middle.

This is the second round of lead testing that began in mid-September, and includes 35 middle and high schools built before 1989.

CMS officials tested 58 elementary schools last fall and lead was found in the water at 27 of them. Some, such as the University Park Creative Arts School, had as many as five fixtures with high levels of lead. Those results were made available in March, but were not released to the public until reports about the testing appeared in the media this summer. School officials said all of those fixtures were shut off and replaced.

CMS officials have maintained that the lead levels do not pose a threat to students, but officials with the Centers for Disease Control say there is no safe blood level of lead. CDC officials say that even low levels of lead in the blood can affect IQ, attention span and academic achievement. Exposure is especially dangerous for young children who are still developing.