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Polk County testing schools for lead, four positive so far

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Check for the latest breaking news and developments.
Published Aug. 31, 2018

The Polk County School District will be testing all 150 of its schools for lead levels over the next several months. So far, out of the five schools tested, four of them have had at least one elevated lead level.

Cleveland Court, Union Academy, Inwood Elementary and Winston Academy of Engineering each have traces of lead, according to the agency.

The district issued letters to each parent and turned off access to drinking fountains and sinks. In the letter, it says it will provide bottled water to students and staff.

READ THE INVESTIGATION: The Hillsborough School District found lead in its water. It didn't tell parents for a year.

The district said the testing is preventive and is beginning with schools built before 1986 because lead pipes were allowed to be used at that time. After that year, building codes restricted the use of lead pipes.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that lead levels over 20 parts per billion be corrected in schools. But Polk County decided to adapt a stricter threshold of 15 parts per billion.

In early August, a Tampa Bay Times investigation found that Hillsborough Public Schools neglected to inform parents of high lead levels in several schools. Since then, the district has sped up lead testing and made results of the test more accessible.

Contact McKenna Oxenden at Follow @mack_oxenden


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