Parents meet with Trenton health officials about lead contamination; city will test children on site
The Environmental Protection Agency, Trenton and state health departments, Trenton city officials and Trenton school leaders met with parents for the first time on Friday since sharing that the soil at Ulysses S. Grant Intermediate School is contaminated with lead.
A meeting in the school’s gymnasium allowed parents to learn more about what steps are being taken since potential exposure may have occurred to the student body.
According to Mayor Reed Gusciora, the contaminated soil will be excavated over the next six months. Current students will be tested for lead poisoning for the next couple of weeks, free of charge, after school.
“If any of them have a positive reading, we’re going to go to their homes, test for lead paint or their pipes for lead,” said Mayor Reed Gusciora.
Among the parents in attendance was Joy Williams. She has a sixth grade daughter who currently is enrolled at the school.
“It’s important for me to know. It’s important for all of the parents to be educated on the signs and symptoms of lead poisoning because it is a big issue,” said Williams.
She was concerned about learning if the damage is permanent or if it can be reversed. Williams also has two other children who went to school at Grant Intermediate before redistricting occurred a couple of years ago.
“I have a current student and I have two that have attended here. One between the school split. She was actually going here last year,” said Williams.
Before redistricting, the school was an elementary school.
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“We’re going to start with [testing] two years prior and see the results. We are prepared to test more,” said Gusciora.
Gusciora said they are currently discussing how teachers and parents will be tested for potential exposure. They likely will have to do so through private health providers.
“Anybody with lead level of five or above we would routinely follow, regardless, up until the age of 17,” said Sharon Winn, Lead Coordinator, City of Trenton, Senior Public Health Nurse.
Officials say they believe the lead came from pottery factories that used to be in Trenton.
An additional meeting on this issue will be held on Feb. 21.