A new study published this week found that there is a significant amount of lead contamination in the drinking water across schools in Philadelphia that city officials are disputing as inaccurate, according to The Guardian.

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) released a report that found 61% of water sources tested in schools citywide contained lead and 98% of tested schools had some lead-containing water. What makes the situation more dire is that the authors warn their discoveries represent "just the tip of the iceberg" of problems with a water system that serves almost 200,000 students.

“Schools should be safe places where our kids go to learn, achieve, and grow up to be productive citizens in society," said David Masur, the Executive Director for the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center that contributed to the report.

"Instead, our study shows the pervasive threat of lead in drinking water faces Philadelphia kids when they enter our school buildings. It's time for district officials to address this threat once and for all,” he added.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, even low levels of lead can cause developmental problems in school children. Currently, more than 24 million children in the U.S. are at risk of losing IQ points due to low-level lead exposure, but exposure can also lead to behavioral problems like hyperactivity, learning issues and even damage to children's nervous system.

The authors of the report called on Philadelphia officials to "1% of their $1 billion in federal stimulus funds" to replace old water fountains with lead filtering hydration stations. This, they said, would reduce exposure to lead as well as COVID-19 by phasing out drinking fountains that require closer contact with the mouthpieces to drink.

“The extent of lead contamination in our schools’ drinking water is unacceptable,” PennPIRG Education Fund Advocate Emma Horst-Martz said. “The School District of Philadelphia and city leaders must take action to protect Philly’s most vulnerable population from the lifelong effects of lead exposure.”

But school officials have not been receptive to the findings of the report. In a statement to ABC News from Philly officials issued on Thursday, they said the report was "not an accurate reflection of the water quality that students and staff in our District are accessing each and every day."

The school system “is fully committed to supporting clean, safe and welcoming learning environments for every student and staff member — and that includes providing access to drinking water which meets the city of Philadelphia’s rigorous lead-in-water regulations, and proactively preventing access to any drinking water in any district-owned building that does not meet city of Philadelphia standards,” said Monica Lewis, a school spokesperson in a statement to the Philadelphia Inquirer.