Hough Elementary School is in the clear after a second round of lead test results revealed results below the Environmental Protection Agency action levels.
Vancouver Public Schools announced on Friday that a second round of testing in three rooms that had high levels of lead dust in windowsills and on the floor — a classroom, a computer lab and a study room — showed contamination is now below the limits set by the EPA. The district hired PBS Engineering and Environmental to conduct deep cleaning in the school, followed by additional testing.
The announcement coincides with the EPA finalizing its new action levels for lead dust from 40 micrograms of lead per square foot to 10 micrograms per square foot on floors, and from 250 micrograms of lead per square foot on window sills to 100 micrograms of lead per square foot. The latest tests at Hough showed lead levels all below 10 micrograms per square foot.
“Every step we take to reduce childhood lead exposure and keep kids healthy pays dividends for society,” the EPA’s regional administrator, Chris Hladick, said in a news release Friday. “We know that lead paint remains a serious threat, especially among communities of color and areas that face persistent economic challenges.”
Chronic lead exposure can damage a child’s developing brain, leading to learning and behavioral disabilities.
Hough Elementary School, 1900 Daniels St., was built in 1941 and is one of Clark County’s oldest campuses. Lead-based paint and its dust are commonly found in buildings and homes constructed before 1978, the year the federal government banned the durable but toxic product.
Clark County Public Health has said the risk level at Hough Elementary School is low, since students at the campus are old enough that they’re not likely to be putting lead-dust covered toys or their fingers in their mouths after touching lead. The office advises parents who are concerned about lead exposure contact their primary care physicians.