As classes begin, Detroit schools shut off drinking water due to high levels of lead and copper


As classes begin, Detroit schools shut off drinking water due to high levels of lead and copper

Eula Holmes and Patrick Martin

31 August 2018

The Detroit Public School system has shut off drinking water at every one of the 106 school buildings it operates because of elevated levels of lead and copper found in water testing at 16 out of 24 schools.

The announcement is an admission that the catastrophic conditions in Flint, Michigan, caused by the profit-driven decision to shift the city’s water system to polluted water from the Flint River, are replicated for school children in Detroit, the largest city in Michigan and the poorest big city in America.

The notice to teachers and parents about the decision to cut off water avoids the obvious implication: for years, hundreds of thousands of school children and thousands of teachers have been exposed to poisoning by lead, copper and other toxins, with incalculable consequences on their long-term health.

A spokeswoman for the school district told the Detroit Free Press that there was “no evidence at all that children have been impacted from a health standpoint,” but the district has said that it will not be carrying out any tests on the students to check for high lead levels.

Officials of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and the Great Lakes Water Authority said there was no excess lead or copper in the water being delivered to school buildings, indicating that the source of the pollution was internal to the buildings themselves, the result of decades of inadequate investment in their plumbing infrastructure.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti sent a robocall to parents on Sunday, August 26, alerting them to the lead-tainted and copper-tainted water coming into DPS water fountains and kitchens where school lunches are…

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