Education

Lead found at Fayetteville school; students offered free blood tests

Posted February 17

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— Families of students at Fayetteville's Montclair Elementary School were notified Friday that lead had been found in some parts of the school. Although no students were known to have elevated levels of lead in their blood, the Cumberland County Department of Public Health will offer free lead testing for students.

Superintendent Dr. Frank Till sent parents a letter to alert them to the situation.

"It's been mitigated and it's been re-inspected," he said. "But even though, once you find it, based on the 1978 standard, you have to correct it, which we always do. Then we have to inform the public that we found lead so that they know."

The school, at 555 Glensford Drive, was built in was built in 1964. It is one of 28 schools in the system built before 1978, when lead paint was prominently used.

Health inspectors found lead in December in chipped paint in areas outside the school, but that were accessible to students. Since then, those areas have been put off limits.

A similar situation happened at the beginning of the school year at William H. Owen Elementary School. Four hundred people were tested after that discovery, and no one showed evidence of lead exposure, Till said.

"It's a really low-risk type of thing," Till said.

Water samples collected at Montclair did not show the presence of lead.

To calm any fears, the county health department is offering free tests any time during normal business hours at its 1235 Ramsey St. office. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month until 7 p.m. Call 433-3600 to make an appointment.

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