Posted on July 29, 2022
Categories: Environmental

What does it mean to be “Lead Safe?” That was the main topic of discussion at the July 25 meeting of the Environmental Advisory Council.

Jen Donovan, who leads the District’s Lead Safe Program, offered an in-depth look at the Lead Safe Certification Program and its goal of reducing lead-based paint hazards by keeping classrooms and other student-occupied areas free of paint chips and lead-containing dust and debris.

Lead-based paint products were widely used in construction until they were banned in 1978. More than 200 District buildings were constructed before the ban and are now under the District’s program to inspect and assess the paint conditions.

The members of the EAC got to see some of the work being done this summer through photos of lead paint assessment at Fanny Jackson Coppin School and significant paint work in the auditorium and cafeteria of the Delplaine McDaniel School.

Donovan explained the District prioritizes elementary schools and those schools in neighborhoods with high levels of lead in blood testing available through city health records.

Currently, all but two elementary schools have been assessed. A total of 138 schools have been given a “lead safe” designation. Only schools built after 1978 can be called “lead-free.”

Steve Link, Director of the Office of Environmental Management and Services, also updated the EAC members on the many projects happening while school is out of session this summer, taking advantage of access to heavily used school areas like hallways and cafeterias to get work done before August 15.

The Council will next meet in October. The EAC brings together representatives from across the city to hear about the progress of the School District in maintaining environmental goals. More information about the EAC meeting can be found here.