The Thousands of U.S. Areas Where Lead Poisoning Is Worse Than In FlintReuters
When Flint was in the headlines due to lead poisoning and when its children were found exposed to lead contamination by water, Americans were in awe. However, the fact is that Flint was nowhere in comparison to the lead poisoning occurring at different other parts of the country. It is not among those places that are hotspots for lead in water!
As per Reuter’s studies, there are about 3000 areas that have at least double the rate of lead poisoning compared to Flint. The poisoned places stretch from Goat Island in Texas to Warren in Pennsylvania. Moreover, some areas have a four times higher rate of elevated blood tests. The main problem leading to such incidents is the industrial waste left behind or crumbling paint and plumbing issues. Many places have not received much aid.
When the Government is responsible for providing safe drinking water to its residents, Flint showed they had failed. This story continues when more than 18 million citizens are served with water that is contaminated by lead ( see the Reuters interactive map of U.S. lead hotspots here ). In these communities, the water system does not abide by the law. In simple terms, it is violating the law.
Gaming the system
Violations include the failure by the authorities to report contamination. It also includes failure to test the water properly and, of course, to treat the lead-contaminated water. The worst part is that the EPA is aware that the testing method by some of the agencies is not good enough; they are just ‘gaming the system’ .
The result is that the public has no idea that they are exposed to lead contamination, and like Flint in Michigan, it can happen to them any day.
Children are prone to the greatest risk, and it is found that in these areas almost 2.5% of children show an elevated level of lead in their blood sample. There may be some in poverty ridden areas, but even the rich are affected by it, and the lead poisoning in big cities depicts that. Children are more prone to lead poisoning; Reuters pinpoints those areas that are affected much more by lead compared to Flint. When pregnant women and children drink water with more lead, their brains are affected. Even adults are not immune to it and face kidney problems and other health issues.
There are at least 155,000 water systems that are serving water to different places, including your home or office. Continuous testing found more systems with lead levels that exceed the EPA standards. There is always a question whether proper testing is done on all the systems providing drinking water to rural and urban America.
The incident of Flint is an eye-opening one, and if the government does not take active steps sooner, then there will be more of such occurrences. Agencies suggest the government should start replacing the lead supply lines of water. That will help. After Flint, actions have been taken everywhere, and expectations are that the lead level in water will soon be under control.
In Philadelphia, the city has tested only 40 of about 50,000 homes, and when the EPA issued a warning statement instructing the local authorities to stop skewing the tests results, the local authorities did not take it seriously. This is the story happening all over the country, like Maryland, Baltimore, and other regions, which could lead to many other occasions like Flint very soon.
While the federal government says it is the state’s responsibility, the states are asking for federal help. If the lead service lines are not changed fast, then it will be tough to control this contamination.