Amid the highly publicized lead-poisoned water crisis in Flint, Michigan, elevated levels of the same toxin have been discovered in water in Newark, New Jersey schools.
Approximately 17,000 students are now being tested for lead in their blood after 30 schools were found to have alarming levels of lead in their water fountains, which have been contaminated since at least 2012, Reuters reports.
The district claims that nearly all the water taps where the highest lead levels were found are not used for drinking or food preparation.
The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) confirmed that despite this problem being detected in the schools, lead has not been found in the city’s water supply.
The DEP reportedly plans to test water at all 67 Newark public schools. They are set to begin with 13 charter schools and non-traditional school buildings and then retest the 30 school buildings where the high lead levels were detected.
According to Reuters, the lead issue in the area dates back even further than 2012. Little to no action was taken back in 2004 when the problem was first raised.
Since the Flint water crisis made national headlines, we’ve seen several other disturbing instances of water contamination revealed in western and southern Texas where arsenic was found in residents’ drinking water and even in Crystal City, Texas where the water from residents’ faucets ran black for several days due to a sediment leak.
High lead levels were also detected in the water in Jackson, Mississippi to the degree that officials warned pregnant women and children against drinking it.
It is terrifying that such a precious resource that nourishes and hydrates the human body has become almost a lethal cocktail for many Americans.
State and city officials need to do a much better job of prioritizing residents’ safety. Water is necessary to survive; how do they expect communities to carry on without a drinkable water supply?
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