The two Portland Public Schools students identified in June as having high lead levels got poisoned at home not at school, Multnomah County officials said today.

PPS tested sinks and fountains at the Rose City Park and Creston school buildings this spring, finding elevated lead levels in the drinking water. When the results were made public two months later, the county offered blood screenings for kids and adults. Just two of the 519 people screened showed levels of lead that could pose a serious danger to their health.

For the two kids, both of whom attend class at Rose City Park, county officials conducted their standard investigation of possible sources of the contaminant and identified a source for the lead at the kids' homes. County officials said it was not water that caused the problems.

"We're cautiously reassured that after screening hundreds of children and adults, the only people with elevated lead in their blood were not exposed by drinking water,'' said Dr. Paul Lewis, Multnomah County Health Officer, in a statement.

Full press release from county below:



Household source to blame for lead poisoning in two Portland students

The Multnomah County Health Department reports today that two Portland school children with high levels of lead in their blood were both poisoned by a household source.

The two were the only people with elevated blood lead levels of 519 children and adults tested last month at Creston and Rose City Park schools after concerns were raised about lead levels in school water fixtures.

Perry Cabot, the investigator for the Multnomah County Leadline, said drinking water was not the source of either child’s exposure.

Over the last several years, the Health Department has not connected anyone with elevated lead in their blood in Multnomah County to drinking water from any source. This includes the 519 people tested in June, and 30 children from various schools tested at county clinics so far this month.

Higher levels of lead have been found in some fixtures in almost all Portland Public schools tested so far this summer. You can see school’s tests at http://www.pps.net/Page/5378.

“We’re cautiously reassured that after screening hundreds of children and adults, the only people with elevated lead in their blood were not exposed by drinking water,’’ said Dr. Paul Lewis, Multnomah County Health Officer.

Health Department investigations have traced lead poisoning in children in our community to numerous sources including paint, metal scrapping, hobbies, pottery and a teapot from a yard sale.

He said that parents worried about any lead exposure should have their child tested within one to two months of suspected exposure or the lead may have already left the child’s body.

For more health information, call the County Leadline at 503-988-4000 or visit www.leadline.org.