You may have read a story in the daily newspaper about efforts by the St. Louis Public Schools to abate a lead hazard at one of its schools.
Here’s the back-story:
Over the last couple of years, the City has developed a good working partnership, Lead Safe St. Louis, involving a range of community groups and institutions, to reduce the risk of lead poisoning for our children. The public schools are one such partner.
When City inspectors recently notified the SLPS that they had found high lead levels in four of the window sills at Mann Elementary School, Superintendent Creg Williams took immediate action to protect the children and inform their parents. Working with the lead inspector, Dr. William’s team quickly devised a plan to abate the hazard at Mann. And he invited the Health Department back to follow up the work with blood tests for the students in the school.
This is not the first time Lead Safe St. Louis and the public schools have worked together.
In July 2004, City inspectors and school officials identified 63 schools with high concentrations of lead contamination. Based on this survey, SLPS began on a five-year, $2.5 million lead abatement program. As part of the program, SLPS custodial, engineer, grounds and maintenance personnel are training in lead-safe practices, including the use of HEPA-filtered vacuums and lead surface wipes. District custodial and maintenance supervisors have attended a lead paint training program conducted by City inspectors and they now use lead block (a heavy cover over lead paint) when painting any surfaces containing lead.
I know that the best way to reduce elevated lead blood levels in our kids is to make the places they spend their time — home, school, and playground — lead-safe. The story at Mann is just a part of that wider effort.