This week, Detroiters learned that at least two district public schools have lead-in-water levels over 50 times the allowable federal guidelines. Tests also showed that one school’s water contained copper at 29 times the limit established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
When schools opened for the school year, Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) Superintendent Nikolai Vitti belatedly reported that testing conducted last spring showed that there were elevated levels of lead and copper found in water testing at 16 out of 24 schools.
Parents, students and teachers immediately voiced outrage, keenly aware of the still ongoing lead-in-water crisis in Flint, only 70 miles away. All water spigots were turned off throughout the DPSCD and bottled water was supplied.
From August to September, more schools were added to the list. In the middle of September, another 33 schools were added, bringing the total number of schools tainted with lead or copper to 57, or more than half the schools in the district.
Further horrifying news was revealed on Tuesday, when the Detroit News reported the shocking levels of lead in the schools. Mason Elementary and Mark Twain School for Scholars had lead levels over 50 times the allowable federal guidelines established by the EPA (54.2 and 53.8 times, respectively), and Bethune Elementary had a copper water level that was 29 times the allowable level.
These levels surpass those recorded in Flint schools during the height of the crisis in 2015. At that time, the school with the highest lead levels, Freeman Elementary School, was tested at 101 parts per billion…