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Comptroller: Elevated lead levels found at five Erie County parks

Posted at 4:40 PM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 08:57:41-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Five Erie County parks have elevated lead levels in peeling paint, according to county comptroller Stefan Mychajliw.

Private testing by EMSL Analytical revealed positive results from paint chips at Chestnut Ridge, Emery, Sprague Brook, Elma Meadows and Akron Falls parks. The highest concentration was found at Akron Hills, where the sample was 36 times over the limit, Mychajliw said.

Mychajliw, a Republican and political rival of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, paid for the independent testing using campaign funds after he said the county health department didn't act fast enough to address the issue. Mychajliw posted a video on Twitter Wednesday that showed him receiving a positive test for lead at a county park using an over-the-counter testing kit.

Stefan Mychajliw's letter to Mark Poloncarz

"I'm calling on Mark Poloncarz to shutdown equipment in county parks until they're known to be safe and don't contain any lead," he said.

"I'm not going to shut down the parks," Poloncarz said. "Our health department is doing the work and if a piece is bad, it will be shut down."

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said the county began to take action the day she was informed. She says lead poisoning is caused by repeated exposure and her department has never identified playground equipment as the source of lead poisoning.

Read the lead test results here: