More than half of Philadelphia’s public elementary schools have serious environmental hazards, a newspaper investigation has found.
The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News reviewed years of district records and worked with school staffers to conduct some of their own environmental detective work.
District records identified more than 9,000 environmental problems across the district since September 2015. Eighty of the city’s 148 elementary schools had at least 50 reports of environmental hazards such as flaking lead paint, mouse droppings, mold or other asthma triggers, lead-tainted water, or frayed asbestos, their review found.
The newspapers enlisted staffers at 19 of the city’s most rundown schools to take samples according to testing guidelines. A nationally accredited lab analyzed the samples.
School district officials questioned the testing methods used. They also said they are streamlining their record-tracking system to get a more up-to-date picture of problems that need to be fixed.
A version of this article appeared in the May 16, 2018 edition of Education Week as Many Environmental Hazards Found in Philadelphia Elementary Schools