#LeadPaintedSchoolYards: Portland, Oregon

school5Yellow painted lines on school yard in Portland Public school Elementary School – Llewellyn /Sellwood – 25,700 ppm lead. In spite of a public declaration to “Keep PPS Schoolyards Safe And Healthy” this is simply not happening!
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Originally Posted; July 2016.
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Hey you guys! More lead! #Sigh I knew the yellow street lines (and curbs) were often painted with lead paint, but I didn’t think the schoolyard yellow lines (at my children’s assigned neighborhood school no less!) would also test crazy positive for high levels of lead in the paint. This was a test I just did today (July 2016). Remember the toxicity level for lead in consumer goods (the level at which an item is considered unsafe for a child) is 90 ppm lead in coatings. I also did a test of the “bare” concrete near the school (about 3 feet out from the school) and that tested positive (so likely this is lead in the dust levels) at 4,523 ppm lead. You bet your booty I will be sharing this with the news. A camera man was with me when I tested this too!
*end original post*

As my children attended this school (although they no longer do and will never again because of the Portland Public School (PPS) District’s unwillingness/ inability to address the lead hazards there) I know for certain that school activities are done at this school USING this yellow line.  The children are told to run (or walk or jump) around the schoolyard on the lead painted yellow line for various functions (including gym class, Run for the Arts and other school activities!) Children are in now way ever asked to AVOID this yellow line at all costs.
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We NEED to make sure our schools are safe for our children. There is NO federal law that says schools need to not have any existing lead hazards. The amount of lead in paint that is regulated by HUD (the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development) as being so dangerous to children that HUD funds are allocated to clean up this paint in public housing, is paint that is approximately 5,000 ppm lead and higher.  THIS schoolyard again, has leaded paint above the 25,000 ppm level.

Note:  About two years ago (c. 2014/2015) I was having lunch with Robert Reich at U.C. Berkeley (I am very good friends with his first cousin!) and I wanted to demonstrate to him that there is lead paint everywhere (even at Berkeley!) I tested and found lead in Robert’s office (!) and then after lunch I suggested we also test the crosswalk. The paint on the U.C. Berkeley crosswalk was negative for lead.  It was then that I learned truly how progressive California is.  Across the country we still have lead painted lines in schoolyards of all places… but in California they have been eradicating (or labeling!) every single source of environmental lead that might impact children or pregnant women.  One of the many reasons I regret having left California!  Please note though, this is not an all inclusive blanket statement (not all paint in public places in California is lead free or lead safe) – just indicative of policy changes that can (and should!) be implemented.  I have tested California fire hydrants (in public places) that were, in fact, very high lead leaded paint that was peeling and chipping! 


Please consider contributing in support of my childhood lead poisoning prevention advocacy work here or here. Thank you!

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