A Bowlful of Cherries

Celebrating Matty and Noah

Leaden thinking

Last week, EPA finally sent a letter of noncompliance to the Washington, D.C., Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. WASA did not adequately inform the public of the health risks it faced from high lead levels in tap water and missed the deadline for providing monitoring data to EPA. The letter marks the first official finding that WASA did not adhere to the law in its handling of lead contamination.

Yesterday, Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt.) said he will introduce legislation to improve the process for informing the public when elevated levels of lead are detected in drinking water systems across the country.

How did we get here? How did we get to the point where the futures of children living in our nation’s capital are threatened every day by the water? How did we get to the point where water tests revealed startlingly high lead levels, but yet that information was never provided to residents?

Jeffords also said his legislation would require water water utilities to immediately notify all residents whose water has high lead levels, give free filters to those residents, and replace all lead service lines on public and private property. The replacement process would continue even if the lead levels recede. The legislation would increase the frequency of water testing in houses, schools, and day-care centers and force manufacturers of plumbing fixtures to eliminate lead from their products.

The Washington Times has another perspective: “there is no actual problem.” Milloy misses the point: lead and other heavy metals accumulate in the body. If your drinking water has any amount of lead, no matter how small, your body will eventually exceed all “safe” levels. And even the American Academy of Pediatrics understands that, despites Milloy’s attempt to spin AAP’s position as “medical treatment for ‘lead poisoning’ isn’t recommended until blood lead levels exceed 45 mg/dl.” The mind boggles.

It’s an issue for us because while we don’t live in DC, we work there.


Written by Michael

08 Apr 2004 at 944am

Posted in Misc.

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