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Neighborhood School Pictures from Today

Photos taken 08/27/2014. Portland, Oregon.
Portland Public School • SE Portland Neighborhood School
Related Piece About This Issue: Link HERE
My 9/2 Follow Up Piece: Link HERE

Some context for better understanding the photos below:

  1. Consumer goods are considered toxic to children with lead (Pb) XRF readings of 90 parts per million (ppm) or more.
  2. The State of Wisconsin [the most progressive state on this issue] considers paint “lead paint” at 600 ppm lead and above. This level was chosen because- in 1978  – residential paint was banned from having lead at 600 ppm or greater.
  3. The current [obviously far less stringent] EPA/HUD standards consider paint “lead paint” at 5000 ppm lead or greater. [This is the level at which they fund remediation projects and legislation (related contractor fines and such) is engaged.]

The levels tested at this school so far (in a preliminary informal XRF testing) were as high as 180,200 ppm lead, that is more than 36 times the Federal standard for lead paint.

[There are other systems of measuring (other than ppm) lead in dust and paint to determine hazards.  One is micrograms per centimer squared (usually used for dust sampling.) Another is milligrams per centimeter squared. When “micrograms per centimeter squared” readings were taken of some of these same painted wood locations (building components that were deteriorating, peeling and chipping), readings were greater than 2,211 micrograms per centimeter squared.]

A reading of the bare concrete threshold of the red door exterior with no paint or chips visible to the naked eye (pics below of door but not threshold) tested at 350 ppm lead (and 7.78 micrograms per centimeter squared.)

The white painted wood frame of that door (also not pictured) came in at 135,800 ppm lead.

Lead dust on the ground is currently considered toxic for children at a level of 40 micrograms per square foot or greater.  Given there are more than 929 square cm in a square foot…

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 9.11.38 PM…this would mean the concrete threshold comes in at 7.78 X 929 or 7,228.62 micrograms per square foot of lead in the dust.

This reading is more than 180 times the level that is currently considered toxic by the EPA and more than 722 times the new recommended toxicity level for lead in floor dust [of 10 micrograms per square foot as recommended by the scientific community.]

These readings would also mean that SANDING or pulverizing just ONE square cm of the window or door trim paint could [in theory] contaminate 55 square feet of floor or ground space to the current federal standard for toxicity of lead in dust for children (40 micrograms per square foot) or contaminate more than 220 square feet to the new recommended hazard level (10 micrograms per square foot.)

Of course – if the paint is disturbed with improper containment (or event just allowed to continue to deteriorate with deferred maintenance at the current rate and level of deterioration) – more than one cm square foot of dust would (and will) be created AND this hazard would not be spread evenly around the school grounds or school interior – there would be “hot-spots.”  [There are DOZENS of windows in the school and many of them are in reach of children on the ground floor from the outside play areas – and in-fact, I have seen children hop up and pull themselves up on the brick window sills – even though this behavior is not allowed/ not encouraged.]

An analogy that many scientists use (since it is difficult to understand that something can be toxic even when it is not visible) is that two sugar packets worth of lead dust if spread evenly around a football field would contaminate the football field to approximately 76 micrograms per square foot.

Thank you for reading.

Tamara Rubin
Portland Resident
[Two of my sons are supposed to attend this school next week.] Executive Director
Lead Safe America Foundation

photo 1

Photo One: Classroom Window (Open): 132,600 ppm lead [90 ppm is consider toxic to children]

photo 2

Photo Two: Classroom Window (Open – close up of Photo One):  132,600 ppm lead [90 ppm is consider toxic to children]

 

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Photo 3: Stage Stairs – “Cafetorium”: not yet tested

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Concern for Lead In Water/ Faucet/ Delivery: not tested (note: under sink filtration system is present)

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Exterior Classroom Door: bare wood: 120 ppm lead, red paint: 941 ppm lead [90 ppm is considered toxic to children]

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Close up of classroom door exterior:  bare wood: 120 ppm lead, red paint: 941 ppm lead, gray filling: no lead [90 ppm is considered toxic to children]

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Close-up #2 of Classroom door exterior bare wood: 120 ppm lead, red paint: 941 ppm lead [90 ppm is considered toxic to children]

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Exterior Handrail, rear of school: red paint – no lead, “bare” metal [likely has “trace” from original paint – apprx. 250 ppm lead [90 ppm lead is considered toxic to children.]

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Exterior Handrail: rear of school: red paint – no lead, “bare” metal [likely has “trace” from original paint – apprx. 250 ppm lead [90 ppm lead is considered toxic to children.]

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Radiator Pic #1: previously tested at >5000 ppm lead [90 ppm lead is considered toxic to children.]

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Radiator Pic #2 – Inside School: previously tested at >5000 ppm lead [90 ppm lead is considered toxic to children.]

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Radiator Pic #3 – Inside School: previously tested at >5000 ppm lead [90 ppm lead is considered toxic to children.]

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Flag Stand, “Rail” of stage stairway – Cafetorium: not yet tested, suspected hazard

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Cafetorium door/ Handbar Area – interior: not yet tested, suspected hazard

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Interior Cafetorium: not yet tested, suspected hazard

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Interior Cafetorium Window / Sill: not yet tested, suspected hazard

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Interior Cafetorium Window – pic 2: not yet tested, suspected hazard

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Interior Cafetorium, Entrance Door – pic 1: not yet tested, suspected hazard

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Interior Cafetorium, Entrance Door – pic 2 (close up): not yet tested, suspected hazard

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Gym Lockers – Pic 1: not yet tested, suspected hazards

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Gym Lockers – Pic 2, Close-Up: not yet tested, suspected hazards

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Gym Lockers – Pic 3, Close-Up: not yet tested, suspected hazards

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Exterior Window #2, Near Front of School Close Up: 180,200 ppm lead [90 ppm lead is considered toxic to children.]

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Exterior Window #2, Near Front of School: 180,200 ppm lead [90 ppm lead is considered toxic to children.]

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Radiator Base Pipe – North Side of School Interior – pic 1: not yet tested, suspected hazard

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Radiator Base Pipe – North Side of School Interior – pic 1, Close Up: not yet tested, suspected hazard

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Cafetorium Door: not yet tested, suspected hazard



 

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Gym Entrance?: not yet tested, suspected hazard

2 Responses to Neighborhood School Pictures from Today

  1. Kim Cole August 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    Regarding the lead in schools quagmire; I am pleased to see this post yet perplexed as to what to do in my town regarding this important issue. This email was sent out in July. (Chris is lawyer, Scott is Superintendent.) The Superintendent has resigned, and I am still awaiting an answer Tamara. btw, the school mentioned in attached article where janitor died? Tested + with a 3M lead test kit…RIP Mr Flattery “Dear Scott and Chris, This article is incredibly sad and does not give me any comfort that the FBMS is a safe environment for Julia. PLEASE provide me with the documentation that for years I have been requesting! Are you certain our kids and teachers are safe from contaminants (lead ) in the school and can you once and for all provide proof of that? ? Can we further discuss the lead certificates I have been requesting since 2010 and how it concerns me that Julias students rights may be brushed aside. ? Please refer to the numerous correspondences about our EPA tickets, emails and letters discussing concerns about chemical contaminates in public schools and Thanks for a response before I send my daughter back into your building. Thank you, Kim Cole ” Chemical exposure kills employee at local school: ‘Our news partners at Wicked Local/Pymouth reported that a custodian was found dead at the Manomet Elementary School Monday morning.
    Officials said nine public safety employees and one other school employee were taken to the hospital for minor symptoms of eye and throat irritation, and most have been treated and released.
    Officials are investigating whether the incident is connected to work being done at the building.’
    Read more: Custodian killed in Plymouth school hazmat incidenthttp://www.wcvb.com/…/3-hurt-in-plymouth…/26826600…

  2. Kim Cole August 28, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    Laws and Responses from state to state truly need more Operational definitions that are clear and have continuity ! EPA has been contacted by me regarding our daughters schools having multiple lead dangers . I have made endless calls following the below email and yet to date, no response. The appropriate state authorities and I have a legal conflict as THEY passed failing swipes and we were poisoned. The political reps have heard it all and done nothing. I have not forgotten the emailed statement Candita! This is a recent email that was forwarded and noone has returned calls. I did as asked and called The White House. Still nothing and schools right around the corner. “Kim,

    The requirement to provide the documents you appear to be requesting are covered under state law, not federal law.

    Again, I advise that you consult with the appropriate state authorities.

    Brian Wong (Chief of Investigations & Enforcement – Asbestos & Lead)
    Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards
    19 Staniford Street, 2nd Floor
    Boston, MA 02114
    EMail: brian.wong@state.ma.us
    Phone: (617) 626-6961, Fax: (617) 626-6965

    Paul Hunter, Director
    Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
    MA Department of Public Health
    250 Washington Street, 7th Floor
    Boston, MA 02108
    E-Mail: paul.hunter@state.ma.us
    Phone: (617) 624-5585/5757, Fax: (617) 624-5183

    Operations & Maintenance for Public Buildings with Lead-Based Paint

    2. NOTIFICATION OF OCCUPANTS Building occupants should be informed of the presence of lead-based paint and hazards associated with it. Occupants should understand the importance both of not disturbing lead-based paint and of reporting the presence of chipping/flaking paint or visible dust and debris. Occupants should be notified prior to the start of lead-based paint O&M work affecting areas they use. Occupants should receive advanced notice when relocation will be necessary.

    http://www.mass.gov/…/operations-and-maintenance-for…”

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