More St. Louis area schools contaminated by lead

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - A Five On Your Side investigation found more schools in the St. Louis area that were lead contaminated this year.

A Facebook tip lead us to ask questions about why teachers were feeling nauseous and had headaches. We learned contractors installing an elevator contaminated an area inside Buder Elementary in South City. Saint Louis Public Schools spokesman Patrick Wallace confirmed the positive lead tests and told Five On Your Side the district was investigating the contractor. Wallace said on Wednesday the investigation is on going. The painters union in St. Louis told Five On Your Side, they had video from inside two other schools, Roosevelt and Sumner showing contractors not following lead containment protocol last June. Studies show lead can cause developmental delays in children.

The video shows paint debris across the floor, buckets of paint chips, paint dust covering books in the library. The district confirmed lead tests in both buildings.

"Which means every one of those books was potentially contaminated," said Steve Wayland, head of the Painters District Council #58. The district confirmed to the lead inside both buildings far "exceeded federal and state standards".

Wayland said the contractors inside the building were not licensed to do work in buildings with lead issues. The general contractor for both schools was Raineri Construction. The two sub contractors on the job were Huddy's Painting and Rice Painting. Tony Raineri said his company had certification from the Environmental Protection Agency to do paint renovation and restoration. The school district notifies all contractors they must have some certification to work on city school buildings. The majority contain lead. Buder, Roosevelt and Sumner were eventually cleared of lead.

We asked the district why it hired the contractors it did. Wallace told us he would treat our questions as an information request under Missouri's Sunshine Law. We made several requests to talk about lead issues at schools with the Special Administrative School Board CEO Rick Sullivan. Wallace told us he would not approve our request. The painters union and parents will show up at the school board meeting Thursday night at 6pm to get answers.


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