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Lead contamination found at site of proposed school playground
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08:42, May 21, 2008

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Dangerous levels of lead have been found under a parking lot that the Los Angeles Unified School District plans to turn into playing fields for a local middle school, the Los Angeles Times said Tuesday.

Teachers at Virgil Middle School received a notice from California state Division of Toxic Substances Control last week informing that lead levels exceeding safety standards had been found in the ground under the gravel lot.

According to the paper, the reported lead contamination has reignited the ire of project opponents and cleanup costs are expected to reach 10 million dollars.

The state agency said in the notice that lead levels at the site were found to be more than 100 times the recommended limit of255 milligrams per kilogram in samples taken a month ago.

The parking lot was paved over the weekend to contain the lead, which could be harmful if inhaled.

"We've been walking on that for years," math teacher Maria Magana was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "This is exactly what the teachers mean when they say they don't trust the district to do the 10-million-dollar cleanup correctly." Magana has been among the most vocal opponents of the project.

However, officials say the lead does not pose a health hazard.

The Division of Toxic Substances Control notice stated that there is no immediate threat of exposure to the contamination because the lead is located beneath the ground surface and is covered with gravel that serves as a barrier.


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