The Flint water crisis has lead to concern of high lead levels in water for other places. Now the public schools of Newark, Nj. will test their students’ lead levels on Thursday (March 17) after half of the city’s public schools reported elevated lead levels in it’s water.
According to CNN 30 out of 66 public schools in Newark tested positive for lead exposure over the legal limit. After finding out about the lead exposure, the schools effected, shut down all drinking fountains and provided alternative sources of water for the students. However, their are allegations from the Newark Teacher’s Union and the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club that the school knew about the lead lead levels for years and did nothing about it. At the beginning of the school year of 2014, the Sierra Club sent out an internal memo to Newark School principles, head custodians and other administrators instructing them to flush the drinking fountains to reduce the risk of possible lead. New Jersey Sierra Club director, Jeff Tittel said in a statement:
This memo is a smoking gun. They would never have sent out this memo if they didn’t know that there was a problem with lead and that the problem had been going on for some time.
The Newark school system, however claims that they have taken precautions against lead since 2004 and installed filters as part of the lead reduction program. But the teacher’s union and Sierra club have claimed that the school district has failed to keep the filters up to date. Newark’s Teacher’s Union President, John Abeigon released photographs he says show expired water filters at 10 Newark Schools that aren’t included in the 30 that tested positive for lead in it’s water. The Newark School Superintendent, Chris Cerf refutes these claims and says that the dates on the filters do not “necessarily correspond to the dates of the filter replacement.”
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