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Yonkers Schools Found to have Unsafe Lead Levels in Water

Jun 10, 2016

Since testing began in March, Yonkers Schools were tested for unsafe lead levels in their water fountains and sinks. Out of 420 water fixtures tested in 20 Yonkers schools, 36 were tainted with raised lead levels. There was criticism for weeks of school officials who had refused to release findings until now, reports.

Three dozen water fixtures were turned off in the Yonkers school buildings due to the increased level of lead. The acceptable federal threshold is 20 parts per billion (ppb). Of the 36 that exceeded the safe level, there was a 1,040 ppb in the nurse's office at Rosemarie Ann Siragusa School.

The action level for public water suppliers is 15 ppb according to the guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, for drinking outlets such as water fountains or sinks, the action level from the EPA is 20 ppb.

May 20, a news conference was held by Yonkers school officials who disclosed that 80 district water fountains were found to have unsafe lead levels, including one water fountain with a high of 2,230 ppb - over 100 times the acceptable federal threshold, according to

When addressing the issue of not revealing all reports immediately, the school Superintendent Edwin Quezada said, "I think it's a question of incomplete information, and none of us is comfortable releasing information that is incomplete. However, we are almost finished."

Jerilynn Fierstein, spokeswoman for district schools said that the school is not providing any water coolers as there are alternative fountains or sinks safe to drink from that are available throughout the schools, reports.

Based on results released so far by the district, 12 schools had at least one fixture that tested above the EPA threshold for safe drinking water. Eight other schools that were tested, had no unsafe fixtures. Those schools were Casimir Pulaski School, Cedar Place School, Gibran School, Montessori School 27, Paideia School 15, Scholastic Academy, School 17 and School 22.

Tested was done at a city-run lab, able to handle up to 27 samples per day.

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