CHICAGO — Two more schools tested positive for lead, bringing the total to 14 out of 65 with known results, Chicago Public Schools said Thursday.
Blaine Elementary School in Lakeview and Beasley Elementary in Washington Park are the latest to join the list of schools with levels of lead in their drinking water that exceed federal standards.
The tainted schools were among a batch of 11 more that got testing results Thursday from samples taken in late May, CPS said. Testing began in late April and is set to continue through June 21, the last day of school for students.
The other schools that already tested positive include: Beidler Elementary; Brentano Math and Science Academy; Budlong Elementary; Harvard Elementary; Esmond Elementary; Fernwood Elementary; Lasalle II Language Academy; Josephine Locke Elementary; Peirce School Of International Studies; Perez Elementary; Reilly Elementary and Tanner Elementary.
So far, that's one in every five schools with results so far. The district is testing its most vulnerable schools — those built before 1986 — first, and should have that complete by the end of the school year.
The remaining schools will be tested next year.
The results come as the district "is taking proactive steps to ensure that our children's drinking water is safe across all schools," said spokesman Michael Passman.
The schools testing positive range from Andersonville to Morgan Park. So far, 13 schools have tested above federal limits of 15 parts per billion, or .015 milligrams of lead per liter of water. The 14th school, Reilly Elementary, is being retested following concerns the test might not have been accurate.
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So far, 58 schools have received results of the lead testing, which has included 15,853 samples of water sources as of June 7. Of the 3,044 samples with results so far, 70 have shown actionable levels of lead, roughly 2 percent.
The tainted samples came mostly from drinking fountains, along with some sinks, CPS said. Sources with samples above federal standards will be shut off until the issue is addressed.
The main threat in Chicago are corroding lead pipes or pipes soldered with lead, CPS said. After 1986, lead was no longer used as building material, so schools built more recently are less at risk.
Typically, drinking lead-contaminated water alone will not elevate blood lead levels in most adults, the CDC said. Children and pregnant women, though, are "especially vulnerable."
CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool called for district-wide testing in late May after Tanner Elementary tested positive last month as part of a pilot program. The district began by testing 324 schools built before 1986 with pre-kindergarten programs.
Concerns over lead poisoning stemming from the rampant lead-related issues in Flint, Michigan, pushed CPS to test 32 schools in April before expanding the program to every school in the district before the end of the school year. In Flint, nine in 10 homes tested had lead values averaging 25 parts per billion.
Of those first Chicago schools tested, Tanner Elementary was the only one to exceed federal standards for the presence of lead in water. Six met federal standards, while 25 have no lead whatsoever in the water.
The district pledged to notify students' families, supply bottled water for children and make repairs at any school with lead found in the water. The results are also supposed to be posted online.
Last month, Ogden International School said it passed recent tests for lead poisoning at both its campuses.
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