THUNDER BAY – News – Lead in paint dust will close Hammarskjold High School on Monday. Cleaning up paint dust will keep students from Hammarskjold High School away from classes for an extra day following exam week. The school is expected to re-open on Tuesday. The Lakehead Board of Education advises that the closure is as a result of dust and ventilation issues created during the sanding of lockers. The paint dust was determined to have traces of lead.
Lead in Paint – Raises Safety Concern
“We are committed to ensuring the safety of our students and staff. For this reason we are closing the school on Monday,” says Catherine Siemieniuk, Director of Education. “We are working with our staff and an environmental consultant to ensure that the school is thoroughly cleaned and that the environment is safe for students and staff to return.”
Throughout the weekend, the entire school is be cleaned to ensure that all paint dust is eliminated. All environmental testing will also be completed following the cleaning.
It is anticipated that the school will re-open on Tuesday, February 5.
Impact of Lead in Paint
Health Canada states, “Lead is a soft, inexpensive metal extracted from ores and widely used in the manufacture of many consumer products such as pipes, automobile parts, electronic equipment, batteries, pigments, and radiation shielding. It can be found throughout the environment in soil, indoor and outdoor air, water, consumer products and food, and can enter living organisms by means of eating, breathing, or by absorption through the skin. Although it occurs naturally in the environment, significant concentrations of lead in living organisms can result in lead poisoning”.
Health Canada shares information on Lead Poisoning: People have known for a long time that exposure to lead can be harmful to your health. Lead poisoning can cause anemia. It can also damage the brain and nervous system, causing learning disabilities.
The risks are greater for children than for adults, because children’s growing bodies absorb lead more easily, and children’s brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to lead’s damaging effects. Even small amounts of dust containing lead are dangerous to infants and children. Lead taken in by pregnant women can also present a danger to the health of unborn children.