Petition Closed
Petitioning City of Portland, Oregon Charlie Hales, Mayor and 2 others

Clean up the existing lead (pb) hazards at *all* Pre-1978 Portland Public Schools.

Please help us clean up the existing lead (pb) hazards at *all* Pre-1978 Portland Public Schools. Children spend most of their day in school during the school year and they have a right to be protected from toxicity in these public facilities.

Lead poisoning causes irreparable damage to the brains of young children. It impacts children of all ages (not just children under six years old, as some mistakenly imagine.) The human brain - especially the frontal lobe - is developing through age 25. Childhood lead poisoning is in fact a primary contributing factor to the skyrocketing special education costs in our country. The fact that children are being exposed to hazards in school - ostensibly an environment for learning and nurturing - is of additional concern (especially when you look at special education trends.)

Local parent advocates have found and confirmed extreme existing lead hazards in many (most) pre-1978 Portland schools.

For example: the peeling, chipping, child accessible lead paint at Llewellyn school was tested with a high-end XRF instrument and measured 185,000 ppm lead. The threshold (by Federal standards) for paint to be officially considered "LEAD paint" [the extremely toxic product that was finally banned in the U.S. in 1978] is 5,000 ppm lead. [Yes, the flaking paint at Llewellyn contained more than 35 times that level of lead.]

Children should not be going to schools with lead hazards. It quite literally just takes a microscopic amount of lead dust to poison a child. [Contrary to  popular lay misunderstanding, a child does not need to "eat paint chips" to be (easily) poisoned; they should not be at risk of exposure to ANY lead dust at all.]

Currently, PPS is only complying with the [woefully inadequate U.S. Federal] legislation that just requires the use of lead-safe work practices during RENOVATION. There is currently no law (Federal or State) in the U.S. that requires schools to be safe (to not have lead hazards) in day-to-day operations (i.e. in the absence of formal "renovation".)

Our request: City of Portland and the Portland Public School District... dare to be different! Break the mold. Set a NATIONAL example—make our public schools safe for our children, safe for ALL children in Portland.

We are a resourceful community with access to private and public funds. If people were aware of the presence of and extent of these lead hazards they would likely step up and make funding available to fix the problem.

Suggestions....PLEASE (what we are asking you to do):


1) Start this conversation by meeting with Tamara Rubin and a committee of other local concerned parents, so we can discuss steps to move forward quickly on this issue. We're JUST ASKING TO MEET AND TALK!


2) Consider continuing this conversation by hosting a public screening of the locally produced upcoming documentary film MisLEAD: America's Secret Epidemic, followed by a panel discussion with each of you and other local experts on the subject [as many State and municipal governments in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, California, Missouri, Vermont and Colorado have already done] so PPS parents have a chance to ask questions and get answers.


3) Hold public forums on the subject.


4) Consider creating a policy that would make every incoming family to a PPS school aware of the hazards in that particular school so they can make an educated choice about sending their family to a particular school. [IDEA - how you can do this: Incoming families to Portland Public Schools could each get a "lead hazard disclosure" before enrollment - a disclosure including a report that identifies and quantifies hazards at that particular school much in the same way landlords and realtors are required to get lead hazard disclosures signed for new tenants and new owners of homes.]

Thank you.

This petition was delivered to:
  • City of Portland, Oregon
    Charlie Hales, Mayor
  • Deputy General Counsel for Special Education, PPS
    Suzy Harris
  • Portland Public Schools Facilities
    Andy Fridley, Manager-Environmental Health and Safety


    Tamara Rubin started this petition with a single signature, and now has 1,766 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.




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