Oakland Schools found to have Water Contaminated with Lead
According to test results obtained last month by The Chronicle, children at seven Oakland elementary schools have been exposed to water with lead levels higher than allowed under federal guidelines. The seven schools in the Oakland Unified School District where found to have contamination levels of the toxic metal in water that exceeded federal health standards. The district began testing school taps in August in advance of new state requirements, but the results have not been well-publicized. Oakland has tested 47 of the district’s 87 school sites and the schools with contaminated water were Thornhill, Brookfield, Fruitvale, Joaquin Miller, Burckhalter, Glenview elementary schools, as well as American Indian Charter High School. Jason Pfeifle, public health advocate for the consumer advocacy group CalPIRG, states,
Let’s be clear. There’s no safe level of lead for our kids, The district should notify parents about these results immediately and take strong action to prevent any further lead exposures.
Officials say the water flowing into the schools is safe, and that the problem is in the plumbing because there is lead in the fixtures and pipe solders, which leaches into the water. It wasn’t immediately clear where the lead was found at some of the schools. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to lead even in low levels can harm children’s health, possibly damaging the brain and nervous system. Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation last month requiring all schools to test faucets for lead by 2019. According to the State Water Resources Control Board, 35 of the 1,100 schools statewide that received results as of early October posted high levels of lead. Hopefully the lead contamination issue can be resolved at the Oakland Unified School District’s schools and any other schools across California.