Administrators advise against eating produce from Portland Public Schools gardens

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In a letter to parents and staff, administrators at Portland Public Schools advised against eating produce from school gardens in the district.

The advisory was included with an update on high lead levels in the water.

The sampling of every cold water outlet in the district has been finished, with results posted online. Secondary samples were also taken and a third party will analyze both samples to help make recommendations for improvements to the current water system in the district.

All drinking fountains have been covered or shut off. Water dispensers will be available in every building to provide safe drinking water for the start of the school year.

Non-drinking uses such as hand washing is considered safe at schools.

Following the lead update, administrators wrote, "The district has consulted with the Oregon Health Authority and at this time has received a recommendation that produce from school gardens not be eaten."

An Oregon Health Authority spokesperson said district administrators are using information posted online by OHA as a basis for the recommendation.

OHA stated, "Lead can be absorbed by plants and accumulate in soils. Water containing lead above 15 ppb should not be used for irrigating or watering your garden or household plants."

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