DPSCD shuts off water due to lead, doctor says there is no safe level

- Water has been shut off at all Detroit Public Schools due to elevated levels of lead in the drinking water.

Repairs are underway as the new school year fast approaches.

FOX 2: "What do you tell your children?"

"Not to drink tap water," said Gari Freeman, a parent of a student at Burton International. "I already told our kids not to drink the tap water, I (haven't drank) tap water for a long time."

General suspicion about what's in the tap water has put many people on edge especially after Flint. 

"Seeing now the issues with Flint. I don't drink tap water," said Freeman.

And neither do his children, both 8th graders at Burton International in Detroit.

"I just registered my kids at the school here and I didn't know," said Dominique Walker.

Walker recently found out the tap has been turned off here. The district says since the spring some parents say for longer.

"What are they going to do?" she said.

All Detroit Public Schools will have bottled water when kids are back in the classroom, the tap water turned off.

The superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti made the call after testing all schools revealed 16 have elevated levels of copper and or lead in the drinking water. Another 18 were known to have problems. He's waiting on results from the rest.
FOX 2: "Are they at risk drinking that water?"

"At this point, I have not been told that," said Vitti.

"No safe level of lead has been established," said Dr. Kanta Bhambhani. "As time has gone by, scientific studies have shown that even low levels of lead can be harmful to the growing brain."

Since that's the case, Bhambhani, who runs the lead clinic at Detroit Children's Hospital of Michigan, says the only way to be certain is getting a blood test if your child has been exposed.

FOX 2: "How long do you have to be exposed?"

"The exposure is cumulative," she said. "Even small amounts of lead stay in the body. The body gets rid of lead very slowly."

The effects of lead long term, children may have learning difficulties, maybe difficulty completing high school.

Kids will return to school Tuesday while the district works with the city and state to figure out the extent of the problem.

City charter schools are expected to participate in the same level of water testing as we initiated last year. Dr. Vitti is still waiting on his own results to come back.

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