8:26 PM EST, February 2, 2012
A state agency is investigating after a measurable amount of lead was found at a Roanoke elementary school.
On Thursday, Deputy Superintendent Curt Baker with the Roanoke City schools told WDBJ7 the lead samples were detected in paint. The paint is located in the drop ceiling over classrooms at Highland Park. Baker says it was discovered when workers started installing a new heating and air conditioning system in December.
The district says in no way does are students and teachers are at risk. The school is undergoing "industrial-style" cleaning that should be done by the end of the week. Baker says the district has also put the heating/air conditioning project on hold until the end of the school year.
Roanoke City schools has hired an environmental firm to monitor the air quality and take surface samples in the meantime.
An employee with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration went to the school on Wednesday. A spokeswoman with OSHA confirmed a full investigation was launched shortly after. However, Baker points out OSHA did not offer any type of orders or mandates after an agent toured the campus. OSHA says it does not have the legal authoritiy to close the school. A decision like that would be made by the district. The spokeswoman also said they do not get a lot of cases where there is lead in paint.
Highland Park Elementary is a little over 100 years old.
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