It took a dog to protect children from lead in the water at one San Diego school.
On January 26, a therapy dog at San Diego Cooperative Charter School in Mountain View wouldn’t drink the water a teacher had poured from the classroom sink.
A teacher then noticed the water had a sheen, similar to the appearance of oil on water. When district officials sampled water on the campus, they found the presence of vinyl chloride, a carcinogen, which likely came from degraded plastic plumbing materials, known as PVC pipe.
It turns out the oily sheen was less of a concern than the lead that follow-up tests revealed.
The charter school shares a campus with the Emerson-Bandini Elementary School. Officials took 10 water samples from fountains and sinks on campus. Those tests revealed water from three different sources contained more than the allowable limit of lead. The water at one sink contained more than twice the allowable limit. Lead can damage children’s brains.
Now, officials are setting off to test every school in the district. So far, the only district school that’s been tested for lead turned up positive, which could indicate a larger problem for San Diego Unified and its students.
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I really want to see a follow up on the lag time between January 26th when the district realized there was a problem with the water and March 24th when they finally informed parents. Why did the district state they would provide bottle water on January 26th and yet on March 1 the water fountains were not blocked off?
A two month delay in informing parents of unacceptable rates of lead in the schools water is shocking. Especially given that ingesting lead has been proven to cause irreversible harm to developing brains.