Testing for lead in Long Island schools is personal for one group

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RONKONKOMA, N.Y. -- Enviroscience Consultants in Ronkonnoma is getting acclimated to what has become the new norm.

Preparing bottles to hold water. In fact, there were hundreds on the premises Wednesday morning.

They are all part of a new campaign and it is one that Glenn Neuschwender, the president of Enviroscience Consultants has not seen before, "This is very intense and very quick."

However, also because who is at the center of it, the schoolchildren of Suffolk and Nassau Counties.

"We have probably done over 30 school districts and that is probably 200 buildings," Neuschwender said.

Neuschwender's firm has been testing lead levels in schools for approximately one month now. When concerns of lead were raised, he wanted to address it immediately since the neurotoxin has been linked to many health issues.

"The health effects affiliated with lead exposure are immediate and debilitating and we are putting the youngest proportion of our population at risk, so lets get to the bottom of this quickly so that we can move one with a clear conscience," Neuschwendersaid.

However, for this firm, the task of retrieving and identifying samples is not only professional but also personal.

Many of the workers like Inez Birbiglia have children in Long Island schools.

"You can't help but thinking about your own children," Birbiglia said. "You are walking through schools, you are meeting with school districts and and superintendents and you are seeing these children, you know there is a great deal of worry among parents."

In fact, the mother of three is one them.

While she is seeing the results of other districts he is frustrated with the actions of her own.

"I contacted my school district to see if they are in fact testing for led in drinking water and, they haven't yet," Birbiglia said. "So I have advised my children to drink the water I have provided to them from home, bottled water."