Campus News

After lead contamination scare, university officials say campus is safe

University officials announced Monday that the lead-contaminated dust found in Agricultural Hall and surrounding areas was at low levels of detection and did not pose a major threat to the community’s health.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

Nearly a month after UW-Madison received reports of “unacceptable levels” of lead dust around Agricultural Hall and surrounding areas, the university announced Monday that there is no longer a significant health risk to the community.

University officials said the lead-contaminated dust was at low levels of detection and did not pose a major threat to the community’s health. The dust escaped a work enclosure between May and September when contracting company was removing paint in the northeast emergency stairwell of Agricultural Hall.

According to a university news release, results from nearly 200 venous blood draws collected by UHS and outreach clinics all showed blood lead levels within the acceptable range established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 182 results showed blood levels “at the lowest level of detection.”

“Buildings have undergone intensive and thorough cleaning by a state-certified vendor,” David Darling, associate vice chancellor for facilities planning and management, said in the release. “Post-cleaning results show lead levels within an acceptable range as established by the CDC.”

While UHS does not recommend any further testing for employees, Facilities Planning & Management staff will complete cleaning in Agricultural Hall and Bascom Hall this week and will continue to monitor and respond to facilities questions and concerns, according to the release.

University officials said they are continuing to assess how and why the contamination occurred.

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