CPS: 12 schools test positive for elevated levels of lead

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Twelve Chicago schools have tested positive for elevated levels of lead in their water.

"Given heightened awareness nationally about lead exposure for children and to provide parents with timely information, Chicago Public Schools is taking proactive steps to ensure that our children’s drinking water is safe across all schools by testing every school in the district," a spokesperson for CPS said.

Background  - Latest Results As Of June 7
• CPS is regularly updating its hub for information on testing water for lead (www.cps.edu/leadtesting).
o As of June 7, the District had collected 15,853 samples of potable water sources and sent them in for testing.
o 3,044 samples have been returned, with 70 results showing actionable levels of lead, or 2.3 percent of the samples.
o Of the 609 fixtures for which results are available, 28 had results above the action level. It includes one kitchen sink, 23 drinking fountains and four other sinks.
o 156 of the 324 schools built before 1986 with pre-K programs have been tested and the results at 58 schools have been returned.
o Of the 58 schools with returned results, 12 had results above the EPA’s action level. Families at these schools have been notified, and in most cases each school had one or two fixtures that showed results above the action level. These fixtures were turned off.
• These numbers include results from Reilly Elementary School, which were received on June 7. Reilly is being re-tested, and results are being expedited. The Reilly findings are being confirmed before being posted because of possible extenuating circumstances that could have compromised the testing accuracy. Out of an abundance of caution, potable water fixtures have been taken off line until the test results come back.
o Among other potential issues, CPS believes that Reilly’s water might have been off in the days before the initial samples were taken, which could have a significant impact on results.
• Below, you will find the robocall that was shared with Reilly families Tuesday evening.

Background – Overview of Testing Program
• Out of an abundance of caution, CPS began a pilot program this spring to test schools’ water for lead. Of the 32 schools that participated in the pilot, 31 had levels below the EPA’s guidelines. 25 had no detectable levels of lead, while six were below the U.S. EPA standard of 15 parts per billion. One school had three water fountains with levels that exceeded the EPA’s action level.
• Any potable water sources – drinking fountains, kitchen sinks and sinks used for drinking – that are found to have levels that exceeded the EPA’s action level are immediately turned off.
• Communication to families is made as soon as possible, via robocalls and/or letters home. Letters include information about nearby medical resources where students can be tested.
• CPS will set up regional information meetings so parents and families can learn more from CPS and sister agencies about lead in the water, steps the District is taking and important health information. 
• Additional information will continue to be posted on www.cps.edu/leadtesting