Questions about lead to ask at your child's school...

Enough said. It's about lead and other heavy metals that school engineers and nurses are needed to check for. But in Chicago we get consultants and more privatization.What questions about lead should you ask your child's school? As more and more people in Chicago learn that the Chicago Board of Education has sabotaged lead testing and the children's health through massive privatization (and the elimination of school nurses), every remaining teacher and parent (along with more and more students) will have to become his own lead testing expert. So... what questions need to be asked?

The beginning of a new school year is always hectic. I know my own household is busy with back to school shopping, organizing supplies, nailing down schedules and completing all the required forms. Something that may drop off your to-do list is your child’s physical environment and the impact it can have on them, not just in the upcoming academic year, but for years to come.

Children spend hours at schools, daycare centers, after-school programs and outdoor play areas, so it’s important to make sure these are safe places. Here are five questions to ask the principal -- or the person responsible for the facility your child is attending -- before sending your children back to school.

All questions should be done in writing and dated. Ask for a response back in writing within 24 hours. If there is no response then report it to the Board of Education or municipal government that the school is located in. keep all records of all communications. We will be reporting on these dangers in the weeks ahead.

As long as "diversity" blinds many people to the ruthless reactionaries who rule Chicago's schools, the juggernaut of privatization and the poisoning of children will continue. Above, the current Chicago Board of Education president, Frank Clark, came into power in the schools after a self-serving career as a corporate executive (Exelon) and promoting the anti public school agenda of Chicago's ruling class (Clark chaired the commission that recommended the massive school closings of May 2013). Substance photo from the April 27 Chicago Board of Education meeting by George N. Schmidt.1. When was the school built? Older schools (and daycare or after-school facilities) are more likely to have paint that contains lead or other heavy metals (such as chromium or mercury). The dust from these heavy metals can then be inhaled, or more likely ingested (the smaller the child, the more likely he or she will nibble on stuff) when they settle on surfaces, floors and desks.

If you think any building your child frequents was built before 1978, ask if the paint has ever been tested for lead, and what follow-up measures were taken.

2. What’s in the drinking water? While the drinking water itself may not be an issue (confirm that with the school’s water supplier), you need to ask about the water pipes that deliver the water to the water fountains. Corrosion of older pipes can contaminate drinking water with lead and other heavy metals that are harmful to your child. Lead levels in school drinking water can rise when long periods of nonuse are followed by heavy consumption (1). Ask your school what the pipes are made of and if the water has ever been tested. Remember, too, to ask that the testing be done properly. (In order to cheat on lead testing, cheaters in place like Flint Michigan simply ran the water for a few minutes; it clears the pipes of the lead -- but the lead is still there and coming back every time the faucet is turned off for a time...

3. How often is the playground tested for environmental hazards? Your child may get more than a few bumps and bruises at recess. Heavy metals, such as lead, can be present in the paint on the play equipment or in the soil. How old is the playground equipment? Has it, and the soil, ever been tested?

4. What toys will your child play with at school? Older plastic and painted toys, especially imported ones, may contain unacceptable levels of lead. Every year children’s products are recalled for a number of hazards, ranging from faulty zippers to excessive levels of toxins Ask the teacher or program director if they stay up-to-date on the toy recall list?

The story about lead poisoning (and poisoning by other heavy metals) in Chicago's public school water will eventually make the Flint crisis look paltry by comparison. But how long will the Chicago coverup last? At every point, City of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools propagandists are rehearsing their latest talking points to try and deflect questions, stall answers, and otherwise continue with the status quo, while promoting the idea that their massive privatization of public services (including the termination of thousands of school nurses, custodial workers, and engineers) has somehow made the public safer because overpaid consultants can do the job "better." That scam failed in Michigan, but only because of a year of persistent exposures from citizens and some experts. Chicago's mayor and school board will devote much more money to their coverups, so how long the danger will persist was still an unknown as June 2016 began.5. Not all the dangers facing your children come from institutions. What is your child’s lunch packed in? If you’re making your child’s lunch, chances are you are packing it in a lunch box. And if that lunch box is made of vinyl, you could be exposing your child to lead. (Lead is used to keep the vinyl stable.) In 2005, thousands of vinyl lunch boxes were recalled due to elevated lead levels.2 Visit for the 2015 Lunch Gear Cheat Sheet. Don’t feel bad asking these questions. The longer a child is exposed to lead, the more permanent damage he/she will suffer.

REFERENCES... 1 Levin R., Brown, M.J., et. al. (2008). Lead Exposures in US Children, 2008: Implications for Prevention. Environ Health Perspect, 16(10), 1285-93. 2 ;

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