NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Reports of elevated lead levels in some New York City schools has the borough presidents demanding kids be tested and that bottled water be brought into the schools.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. sent the joint letter to Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña after several concerned parents called his office, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

“We are calling for immediate action, as the health and quality of life of our children and their families are at stake,” the letter states.

Since December, the city began retesting the schools’ drinking water under stricter guidelines issued by the state in the wake of lead contaminated water in Newark and Flint, Michigan.

P.S. 11 in Manhattan and P.S. 124 in Brooklyn are among the schools where water fountains are off-limits, Diamond reported.

Dr. Steven Marcus, former executive director of the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System, said lead poisoning should have gone away years ago.

“And the fact that it hasn’t is a reflection on our society’s willingness in developing children,” he told Diamond.

Experts say if a child does test positive for lead, it’s more likely the poisoning came from peeling lead paint.

The DOE has refused the borough presidents’ request, saying other drinking water sources in the schools are safe, Diamond reported.

  1. I was quoted in this piece incompletely. I haven’t been interviewed recently, and the sound bit is only partly correct. Lead in water can be a substantial portion of a child’s lead exposure. Although, it is not likely to be the cause of the sort of lead levels that warrant chelation therapy, even when the water concentration meets current EPA standards, it can result in a lead level just below or exceeding the current CDC “level of concern.”

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