Young, Gifted & Green’s Official Response to DC’s Notification of Lead Exposure & Environmental Risks in Ward 8 Schools

May 26, 2024 | Policy Statements | 0 comments

Young, Gifted & Green, a national and DC-based environmental justice organization, expresses grave concern regarding the Environmental Testing Result notices that were recently sent to DC ANC Commissioners on May 24, 2024 by the DC Department of General Services (DGS) for Ballou High School and Hart Middle School – both located east of the Anacostia River in Ward 8.

According to the Public Facilities Environmental Safety Amendment Act of 2020, DGS is required to coordinate with other relevant District agencies to conduct a community meeting within 20 business days of receiving test results above allowable thresholds. This meeting should share the testing procedures and results, the remediation process, potential health risks, and the anticipated re-opening date of the affected facilities. DGS has scheduled a public meeting on Thursday, May 30, 2024 6:30 PM to share details. Community members can learn more about joining the meeting HERE.

While this is a regulatory issue overseen by DGS, we also call on the DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) and other applicable agencies (i.e. the DC Department of Health) to immediately provide public health guidance and recommendations, including but limited to information on blood lead level (BLL) testing, that can be shared with potentially impacted educators, students, and families. Even though the students potentially affected are not under the age of 6, the potential health impacts of lead exposure and other environmental toxins can be severe at any age (particularly considering any child birthing people inside the respective buildings).

Young, Gifted & Green demands transparency and accountability from DGS and all other applicable agencies regarding the adequate communication and protection of public health for the students, families, and educators who may be potentially impacted by lead paint exposure and other cited environmental issues. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and advocate for the full implementation of the Public Facilities Environmental Safety Amendment Act of 2020 to safeguard the well-being of the community.

DC community members can reach out to us with any related concerns surrounding this issue at info@younggiftedgreen.org.

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