Lead levels elevated in four Polk Co. schools

- The test results are in and they are concerning.

Polk County tested the water at five schools. Four of them have unacceptably high levels of lead.

At Union Academy in Bartow, one test showed the level was 25 times higher than what the federal government says is safe.

“I am concerned about lead, especially in children,” Kevin Kayden, the parent of a 7th grader at Union Academy told FOX 13. “It’s bad.”

Other schools with an apparent lead problem include Winston Academy of Engineering, Inwood Elementary and Cleveland Court Elementary.

Officials say they are bringing clean water for drinking and cooking to the target schools. They are also replacing fixtures, like water fountains, hoping that will solve the problem.

They plan to test every school in the district by the end of the year. The cost just for testing could reach $150,000.

In high concentration, lead can be very dangerous.

“Over time and depending on the amount of exposure, you may have fatigue, headaches, developmental delays, [and] behavioral issues,” explained Leslie McKay with the Florida Department of Health.

Rory Luce, who is in charge of maintenance for Polk County Schools, says it is unlikely kids are in any danger. He says if parents are concerned, they can take their child to their doctor’s office to be tested for lead exposure.

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