"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Fenty Still Hasn't Gotten the Lead Out

For a man who would want absolute control over the public schools in D.C. , it would seem small matter to make sure that, after 6 years, the lead could finally be taken out of the water that children drink at school. Apperently not:

A group of Washington area parents and environmentalists has formally demanded that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency order new tests of water in D.C. public schools, saying they don't trust local officials' assurances that some unusually high lead levels detected in school water in recent months were "isolated" findings.

The parents contend that they've been misled before about the severity of lead problems in the city's water supply. In a letter last week to the EPA, they argued that the D.C. school system's method for broader systemwide testing in February was skewed to register artificially lower lead levels. They said local and federal officials have given unclear and conflicting answers when questioned about the testing method's accuracy.

"We are very alarmed about the safety of our children, and nobody is giving us any straight answers," said Yanna Lambrinidou of Parents for Non-Toxic Alternatives, which joined in urging the EPA to intervene. "I have a basic question as a parent: Is the water safe for my child to drink at the fountain?"

The letter was sent on behalf of 50 parents, joined by organizations such as Clean Water Action, the D.C. chapter of Friends of the Earth and the Center for Health Environment and Justice.

The parents expressed concern that high lead readings in drinking water at five schools could signal a citywide problem. High lead levels are often a sign of dangerously corrosive water and posed a major health hazard in the city from late 2001 to 2004, after which the water utility changed the chemicals it used to treat the water. . . .

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