Metro Schools not required by law to test water for lead

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – News 2 has uncovered new information about the testing surrounding concerning levels of lead found in Metro Nashville Public Schools’ drinking water.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) said that while public water systems are required by law to test drinking water for lead, Metro Schools are not.

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Physician Dr. Nedra Jackson worked at a clinic Mississippi before she opened her one in Middle Tennessee. She told News 2 that some of her patients tested positive for lead in their system.

“I used to work at a clinic in Utica, Mississippi, at a school. Twice a week I would go there. I started testing children for lead starting at one year of age every year,” she explained.

Metro Schools made the announcement Monday that it plans to accelerate its lead testing and re-sample areas where elevated levels were found in the drinking water at some schools.

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Metro parents News 2 spoke with were very concerned after learning the news.

“How it can hurt a child, lead is very dangerous,” said parent Misty Shokoor.

TDEC is helping the school district verify its lead testing results. The department said in a statement:

“TDEC supports Metro’s proactive approach to sampling at schools. While public water systems are required to sample for lead at residences, neither federal nor state rules require Metro Schools to sample for lead. There is no federal drinking water health standard for lead, but TDEC recommends EPA’s voluntary program and is ready to assist schools in lead sampling plans and procedures.”

More information can be found at EPA.gov and Tennessee.gov.

Dr. Jackson also told News 2 that if you are concerned your children may have been exposed to lead, a test costs about $20. Some of the warning signs to look out for include developmental delays, irritability, hearing loss and abdominal pain.