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Adams High School students join fight against lead poisoning

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – John Adams High School students are using science to save lives.

“It’s another student reaching out to their community member to use their own scientific knowledge to do something for the good,” said Dan Walsh, the Sscience Chair at Adams High School.

South Bend Community Schools is now joining in the fight against lead poisoning with a little help from their neighbors at Notre Dame.

In just two days, the school handed out more than 1,100 lead testing kits.

Administrators say that’s 1,100 students who will take the initiative to raise awareness for an issue that has been silently poisoning their communities for years.

“Our students are solving their own problem at home and actually doing some scientific research on their own here at school,” said Walsh.

Walsh hopes empowering his kids with these testing kits will help them get ahead of area’s struggle with lead exposure.

“The plan is to take this as a model for the other potential schools, high schools, middle schools and maybe even other schools outside the district, that have similar problems,” said Walsh.

To do that he, the district is utilizing resources at Notre Dame.

“We had been planning on doing just a couple of classes, but he got everybody organized and next thing we knew we were making 1340 test kits,” said Marya Lieberman, a biochemistry professor at Notre Dame.

Back in September, the university presented its summer-long research into lead exposure in South Bend.

Among their findings, just 10 percent of kids in St. Joseph County had been tested for poisoning and houses with lead paint had high levels in the surrounding soil.

The kits provided to the students will go back to the university so they can next equip students with the knowledge they’ll need to stay safe.

“There’s things you can do that are not really expensive, that are protective, but first you have to know, so that’s the first step,” said Lieberman.

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