NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Long Island News

Six Long Island School Districts Report Elevated Lead Levels In Drinking Water

Jeff Turner

Six school districts on Long Island have found elevated levels of lead in their drinking water recently, making the poisonous metal much more present than previously suspected.

Prolonged exposure to elevated levels of lead have been shown to increase the risk of learning and behavioral problems, but very few schools bothered to test until Newark school officials announced in March they had found high levels of lead in their drinking water.

At least 32 Long Island schools have initiated a testing plan, but many of them are on a wait list because there aren’t enough water engineers to go around. Testing is an expensive process. Each test costs $20 to $40. Most schools are conducting sample tests, but others are testing hundreds of water sources.

The schools that have so far confirmed high lead levels say they believe plumbing inside drinking fountains are responsible.

This report is part of a collaboration with WSHU, WNYC and NBC 4 New York.