The ongoing water contamination crisis in Flint Michigan has elevated the issue of lead poisoning to the point that many people are seriously concerned.
So, where is the lead coming from? We typically associate lead with paint in old houses. Other more current sources include soil, dust, gasoline, old furniture, and of course, drinking water contaminated with lead from various sources.
The Environmental Protection Agency requires water utilities to test their water for high levels of lead, but if data is not saved or shared with other levels of government, it doesn’t get analyzed sufficiently to detect trends, and it’s often not reported to the public for months until a solution can be developed and applied. In the meantime, the the public doesn’t know the test results, and may continue to consume water contaminated with lead.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Griffiths, a public health professor at Tufts University and the former chair of the EPA’s Drinking Water Committee. When it comes to tracking lead, he says, “there’s no way you can say we’re doing an adequate job.”
It’s not uncommon for cities to test only a handful of homes for lead, to discount the highest readings as not representative, and to go for months without disclosing high lead levels to the public.
What can the public do till the government and EPA get their acts together? Complain to your Congressional leaders and your local water authority if you suspect any degree of lead contamination in your water. Ask them for their test results and don’t take no for an answer. You as a consumer are paying their salaries and you have a right to know.
Click here to checkout the status of your state’s lead reporting to the Center for Disease Control.
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