Lead paint chips found outside Long Island preschool

Parents whose children go a pre-kindergarten on Long Island are being notified after a preschooler tested positive for lead poisoning.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the Department of Health will be sending letters to parents of the children who attend the school encouraging them to consult with their pediatricians," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.

Peeled paint was found outside the front entrance of the Uniondale School District's Shubert School. Officials say it was built before 1978--back when paint contained lead.

"We cannot for sure say that these paint chips are the source of the elevated lead level. We don't know for a fact that the child that we're investigating was eating these paint chips," Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein, the county health commissioner, said. "Paint chips were only found outside the building, not inside the school."

New York State requires lead testing in 1- and 2-year-old children. In Nassau County alone, increased lead levels are diagnosed in about 50 children every year.

"Lead has been found in imported goods like toys, cosmetics, certain foods, spices, herbal remedies, children's jewelry, candy, pottery, painted China and lead crystal," Curran said.

Swallowing or breathing in lead can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and in the most-severe cases brain damage in young children.

Part of the problem is that people with lead poisoning often show mild symptoms at first and lead paint tastes sweet, like candy, so kids are tempted to go back for more, officials said.

FOX 5 News reached out to the school district but has not heard back.