Shelby Co. Health Department to test students impacted by lead levels

WATCH: What will have to be spent to fix the lead in the water issue within SCS

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Staff with the Shelby Co. Health Department said they are going to go into schools and test students that were impacted by the recent lead levels.

This comes after 35 Shelby County Schools tested positive for lead levels above the EPA threshold.

Wednesday, the Shelby County Board of Commissioners heard from school district leaders and the director of the Shelby County Health department.

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In the meeting we learned that the cost of the testing would be about $80,000.

Shelby County Commissioner Edmund Ford Jr. was very outspoken in the meeting and said this reminds him of something that happened at one of the schools he taught at three years ago.

"The AP came to me and said you should stop saying that because we're going to ruin the perception of Central High School. I could care less of a d*** about perception," said Ford.

Ford was visibly frustrated with the current situation.

"When I see that list of schools, many of them were in my district and one of them I actually taught at and graduated from," said Ford.

Central High is one of 35 SCS schools testing positive for traces of lead in water fountains, coolers and sinks.

"We had a water issue. We did not have running water on the third floor, 2nd floor. We had one sink that worked, we had one toilet that worked.  The administrator at that time didn't want us to tell the students much less the parents what was going on," said Ford.

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Ford said he hopes officials will be transparent because he said school administrators were not transparent back then.

A spokesperson with the district said they have been transparent and notified parents as soon as they got the results back about the lead issue

The Shelby County Health Department is preparing to test students at their schools.

Director Alisha Haushalter with the SCHD told FOX13, "our goal would be get it done before the end of the school year and I believe by the first quarter of the year, we will monitor volume initially and based on that we can predict how many staff we need to go to each school."

If a test determines a child was exposed to lead, then their connected pediatrician will determine what other assessments need to be done.

It's estimated that 19,000 children were likely impacted, not including faculty and staff.

As far as commissioner Ford's claims, a SCS spokesperson said they cannot substantiate his claims about something that happened three years ago.