Two drinking fountains were discovered to have high levels of lead at Everett Elementary School in the McKinley Park neighborhood.

High Lead Levels Found at Everett Elementary

Published July 19, 2016

According to recent announcements by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and a letter sent to parents, elevated levels of lead were discovered at two drinking fountains at Edward Everett Elementary School, 3419 S. Bell Ave., Chicago, in the McKinley Park neighborhood. Spurred by national reports of high lead in water systems, CPS has been testing at its school sites and has uncovered 75 schools that have now tested positive for high levels of lead, including Everett.

The two fountains with high lead are sited in the basement in the girls playroom at Everett; some of the tests showed levels more than five times higher than the 15 parts per billion the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets as a cutoff for needed action. Both fountains are now disconnected, and other drinking fountains in the building tested below the EPA's action level, CPS said.

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"Lead can be found in some interior plumbing fixtures and materials, and lead found in tap water usually comes from the corrosion of these items," stated a July 5, 2016, letter to parents from CPS. "This explains why only two of the samples at Everett returned with elevated results – the issue is not system-wide, but is specific to the fixtures or pipes for those fountains."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that exposure to lead is of great concern, especially for children under the age of six, who are much more affected by lead toxicity. Unsafe levels can lead to sicknesses that are difficult to detect and long-term developmental disabilities.

The CPS letter, including detailed data from Everett Elementary School testing, is available online as a PDF document:

pdfIndividualschool_Everett_609909.pdf467.69 KB

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