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Kindergarten Sink At Portage Park Elementary Has Lead: CPS

 Portage Park Elementary School
Portage Park Elementary School
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

PORTAGE PARK — Water from one sink in a kindergarten classroom at Portage Park Elementary School has tested positive for elevated levels of lead, Chicago Public Schools officials announced Monday.

In a letter to parents of students at Portage Park Elementary School, Chicago Public Schools officials said tests conducted June 7 found 24.8 parts per billion of lead in water from a sink in one of the school's kindergarten classrooms.

The Environmental Protection Agency considers water with less than 15 parts per billion of lead to be safe.

The sink in room 101 has been shut down, and a plan to remove the lead is being developed, officials said. The room is in the school's main building, which is approximately 100 years old.

No other sinks or water fountains at Portage Park Elementary School have elevated levels of lead. However, water from two other sinks in the same room had 5.8 parts per billion of lead and 6.5 parts per billion of lead.

Stock School in Edison Park is the only other school on the Far Northwest Side where water with elevated levels of lead has been found.

The government is especially concerned with children drinking lead-tainted water, as they're more susceptible to its effects. Amounts of lead that won't hurt adults can hinder mental and physical development in children, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

No detectable levels of lead were found at Reinberg Elementary School, 3425 N. Major Ave., also in Portage Park, according to test results announced Thursday.

The results come as CPS "is taking proactive steps to ensure that our children's drinking water is safe across all schools," spokesman Michael Passman said.

CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool called for citywide testing in late May after Tanner Elementary tested positive last month as part of a pilot program at 324 schools built before 1986 with pre-kindergarten programs.

Water at more than 55 schools throughout the city has tested positive for lead, officials said.

Six other Far Northwest Side schools have had their water tested, but the results were not available as of Tuesday afternoon. Those schools are:

• Gray Elementary School in Portage Park

• Beaubien Elementary School in Jefferson Park

• Hitch Elementary School in Gladstone Park

• Onahan Elementary School in Norwood Park

• Smyser Elementary School in Portage Park

• Norwood Park Elementary School.

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