18:52 GMT16 January 2021
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    Hundreds of schools across New York City, where minors study every day, were discovered to still have mid-20 century lead-based paint which can contribute to significant neurological damage. The Department of Education has vowed to fix the hundreds of classrooms affected before September.

    More than 900 classrooms in New York City schools tested positive for lead paint, Fox News reported, citing US Department of Education data.

    Some 5,400 classrooms in 797 schools built before 1985 were inspected in the wake of reports of dangerous lead levels in four schools last month.

    Some 302 rooms used by students under the age of six were found to have deteriorating lead paint, the report says. Additionally, some 400 schools were discovered to have at least one faucet with elevated levels of lead.

    Brooklyn had the highest number of school buildings with lead, with 114 testing positive, followed by 90 in the Bronx, 48 in Queens and 29 in Manhattan, the Department of Education reported. Staten Island saw 21 classrooms with elevated levels of lead. 

    Lead poisoning can cause severe health problems - particularly to the very young - specifically inhibiting behavioral and neurological development, the Fox report says, although the quantities required to inflict damage on a human would have to be severe, according to reports.

    The Department of Education vowed to fix all exposed lead in the classrooms before the start of the school year in September.

    “Our schools are safe, and this summer we’ve enhanced our protocols and strengthened communication with families around the steps we take to prevent lead exposure for kids under six,” Miranda Barbot , a spokeswoman for the education department, said in a statement.

    During the Democratic presidential debate, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blamed the federal government for not investing enough in the city to tackle the lead issue.

    “That’s part of why we have this lead crisis to begin with,” he said during the debate.


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