Thousands of Detroit public schools students were told Tuesday to drink from district-supplied water coolers or bottled water on the first day of classes, after the drinking fountains were shut off because of contaminants in some water fixtures.
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said last week that elevated levels of lead or copper were found in fixtures at 34 schools. Test results are pending for other schools.
The discovery of contaminated water in Detroit’s schools follows a lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In 2014 and 2015, Flint didn’t properly treat corrosive water that was pulled from the Flint River. As a result, lead in old pipes contaminated the water going into homes and businesses, and it streamed from household taps as a brown and smelly fluid.
Some children in the city were subsequently found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood, which can lead to developmental delays and other health problems.
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