Environmental issues at Jamestown schools get passing grade | #schoolsaftey

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. — For the second school year in a row, Jamestown Public Schools and Superintendent Kevin Whitaker will have clean, lead-free drinking water.

That after the state, which requires districts to test its water, found a small amount, namely in fixtures at C.C. Ring Elementary, which were replaced and retested last year.

What You Need To Know

  • For the second school year in a row, water across the district remains lead-free
  • Crews also removed several sections of asbestos found during an IT project
  • A local pediatrician says both issues are harmful to children and credits the school for taking action

“So we are totally good. We have passed a very stringent level of testing so that makes me feel good that we’re in a good place even with the most minute level of lead in our water, we’ve eliminated that issue for kids,” said Dr. Whitaker.

Also eliminated this summer, were areas of asbestos across the district, including at Ring.

The discovery was made during a district-wide IT project, which had to be paused, while crews worked to contain and remove it.

“Good that we found it, and good that it is resolved because I know that people are always concerned about asbestos. It’s been well publicized it’s a health hazard and when disturbed has gotten to be taken care of, so that’s what we did and I’m glad we did it,” said Dr. Whitaker.

Equally glad, long-time pediatrician, Dr. Tariq Khan who says while asbestos is common in many older buildings, he credits the district for taking the proper steps to remove it and mitigate the exposure.

While leaders say it was contained inside other materials and posed no risk, Dr. Khan says the toxic material itself can impact the lungs.

“I’m sure that the parents and the teachers and the staff that is in those facilities, they are very relieved for the safety of the children that they are teaching, that are in their care all day and for themselves and their colleagues likewise,” said Dr. Khan.

As for the lead, Dr. Khan says no amount is safe, whether it’s in water, paint or older homes. He says exposure to the environmental metal can affect the whole body, including the liver, kidneys and bone marrow.

“Especially in younger children, all the organs head to toe. It is fabulous that the school districts take those steps. We always say it takes a community to raise a child so schools are doing their part,” said Dr. Khan.

Like Jamestown, where leaders say testing for contaminants requires a passing grade.

“I’m glad that we have the people that we need to have with specialized skills to remove that and that we’ve taken care of that. So we’re in good shape,” said Dr. Whitaker.

One other note about lead exposure, pediatricians urge parents to get their children tested for the containment as early as possible, or at least by one or two years old. 

State and CDC leaders also recommend screening take place through at least age 6.

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