More than 900 city classrooms repeatedly tested positive for lead paint over the past five years — amounting to what one expert calls a “ticking time bomb” that’s waiting to poison kids.
A classroom at PS 188 The Island School in Manhattan’s Alphabet City neighborhood racked up the highest number of positive tests — 178 — during a series of four inspections between Feb. 5, 2015, and June 17, 2019, according to Department of Education records obtained by The Post.
During three of the visits to classroom 201, including the most recent, safety inspectors found lead in the light-blue paint covering a cabinet and its doors, the records show.
Another classroom, at PS 165 Ida Posner in Brownsville, Brooklyn, was flagged a total of 159 times during five inspections between Dec. 30, 2014, and May 16, 2018.
Each time, inspectors found lead in the paint on the walls of classroom 102, according to an internal DOE spreadsheet obtained by The Post under the Freedom of Information Law.
The PS 165 classroom was among three — including another at the same school — where inspectors found lead-paint violations on five occasions.
In addition, another 918 classrooms across the city repeatedly tested positive for lead paint, with 106 doing so four times, 294 three times and 518 twice.
“I think it’s pretty much a no-brainer that we’ve got a ticking time bomb here,” said lawyer Matthew Chachere, who helped draft the city’s 2004 lead-paint law.
“If they’ve already tested it, why would they go back and test it again unless there was some problem with the paint?”
The DOE spreadsheet details nearly 50,000 lead-paint violations found in 2,701 classrooms at 665 schools between November 2014 and September 2019.
The highest lead level found anywhere was 40 milligrams per square centimeter in the paint on a pipe riser in the cafeteria at the Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School in Harlem, which serves students in kindergarten through fifth grade, on Jan. 8, 2019.
Another Harlem elementary school, PS 194 Countee Cullen, was found to have lead paint that measured 32 milligrams per square centimeter on a pipe in a classroom on Jan. 22, 2019.
At the time of those tests, the city limit for lead in paint was 1 milligram per square centimeter.
But that threshold was cut in half, to just 0.5 milligrams per square centimeter, in July 2019.
In addition to the results at Thurgood Marshall and PS 194, the spreadsheet shows 168 other tests that revealed lead levels of 10 milligrams per square centimeter or higher.
“We have done more than any other administration to eliminate lead exposure in our schools,” said a DOE spokesman, who added there were no instances of crumbling paint spotted in the schools during the most recent 2019 inspection.