PORTLAND, Ore. – Results from lead testing at two more Portland school buildings showed high levels of lead and, in one school, high copper levels.
On June 28, the district released results from Peninsula Elementary School in North Portland. Fourteen locations within the school showed high lead levels.
The highest levels found at Peninsula were at a boy’s locker room sink faucet, where water tested at 45 ppb.
The action level set by the Environmental Protection Agency is 15 ppb. Many experts say there is no safe level of lead.
Humboldt Elementary School in North Portland, which closed in 2012, had high lead levels in 38 locations, Portland Public Schools revealed June 21. The most elevated was 1,660 parts per billion at a laundry spigot and 926 ppb at a water spigot.
Humboldt tests also found 117 ppb at a nurse’s station, 86.3 ppb at a classroom faucet and 64.4 ppb at a sink faucet.
High copper levels were found at three locations. One water spigot tested at 4.9 parts per million, which is three times higher than the EPA action level.
The school district said it will provide water delivery to all students during the 2016-17 school year.
PPS set up a website where it will post the results of the district-wide lead tests taking place this summer.
The district said it decided to conduct system-wide lead testing after tests requested by parents at two elementary schools showed high lead levels this spring. The district later apologized to parents for not following EPA protocols and not telling families about the lead levels when they first found out.
Two PPS employees were placed on administrative leave due to the situation. PPS Superintendent Carole Smith announced she will retire at the end of the 2016-17 school year. Smith told KGW News partner The Oregonian that she was not being ousted over the lead debacle.
Lead exposure can cause anemia, weakness, and kidney and brain damage. Infants, children and seniors are most at risk for experiencing health effects from lead.
High doses of copper can be an irritant, cause headaches, dizziness and nausea, and in extreme cases liver and kidney damage, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. It is unknown if copper causes cancer.
The Multnomah County Health Department urged any parent worried about the health of their children should have them tested.