An urban collapse that could’ve been averted has resulted in lead poisoning in Flint’s drinking water, which is the worst conceivable calamity. In this case, smarmy politicians are lying to their constituents in order to gain political favour. It’s one of the most terrifying stories I’ve ever had to write. However, this does not mean that you should not trust the water that comes out of your faucet.
AU We in Australia have very severe legislation governing the sampling and testing of all the water that enters our cities’ sewer systems. In any case, I thought this tale was worth sharing because it was both intriguing and pertinent at the same time. — Cam, on the other hand
Listening to people in Flint talk about having their blood drawn to test for lead and being given advice on how to keep healthy after long-term lead exposure is heartbreaking. The fact that parents are still terrified to bathe their children was not surprising to me – when will they not be?
After that, I began to worry as well. Considering what we’ve seen in Flint, I wanted to know: Is my unwavering faith in tap water, as an American, a new mother, and a proud drinker of Los Angeles’s finest, misguided?
It took me a week of research, and the short answer is no. However, you should know where your water comes from and how it is tested by your city.
Last year, I published a piece in which I pleaded with readers to refrain from purchasing bottled water. It all depends on the fact that we have some of the world’s purest and safest drinking water at our disposal:
Two millennia of human innovation has made it possible for us to drink water that is both clean and safe to drink. It is a fundamental part of human culture. It is the foundation of our cities. Also, our water-delivery specialists, hydrologists, and other specialists have evolved into environmental stewards, infrastructure watch dogs, and urban visionaries throughout the years. Drinking the water these folks bring into our homes is the best way to ensure that future generations have access to clean water.
I’ve heard from a lot of people who say they drink bottled water all the time when our tap water isn’t safe to drink because of incidents like this one. What if I were to do this? We are told. And it’s a legitimate concern.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to evaluate water restrictions every six years as part of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which was passed in 1974. This year will see the completion of the next review.
Most of the reports about water that doesn’t meet these standards in the United States are merely precautionary, such as a boil order issued following a natural disaster. It’s not uncommon for poisons to get into the water unintentionally. Rural residents who rely on groundwater wells may see their water polluted by pesticides or other industrial toxins that have leached into the soil. However, municipal water systems are not the source of the vast majority of these events.
Mary Grant, the Food and Water Watch campaign director for the Water for All initiative, said, “Most of our water systems are publicly owned and operated and doing an excellent job.” As a result of decreased federal support, “our systems are faced with ageing infrastructure, especially regions in the Northeast and Midwest that have lead service pipes.”
Not only did deteriorating infrastructure in Flint contribute to the crisis, but so did a series of budget-driven choices to switch the city’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Flint’s lead-based pipes may have been corroded by the new, dirtier water source if they had been treated with the wrong chemicals.
Because it’s so common, lead is a tough contaminant to avoid. It’s in our pipes, our plumbing, and even our faucets. Is there a “safe” point? However, aged service lines — including those in private residences as well as those in the city — are the greatest source of drinking water contamination. Lead and Copper Rule, EPA’s new drinking water regulations introduced in 1991, established stricter standards for the detection of lead and copper in the water supply. (The EPA declined to comment on this story by the time of publishing.) Despite these strict standards, it appears that the rules aren’t always followed.
EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act poster shows the dangers of drinking water contamination.
Water samples from Flint were not tested by the city for nearly two years, a situation that points to an issue with US water testing methods as a whole. EPA guidelines aren’t being followed in Flint and other cities, and monitoring methods are underestimating the quantity of lead in urban water systems, according to scientists. One Virginia Tech team of researchers, including Marc Edwards, Yanna Lambrinidou, and a number of other experts in this field, claims this.
On the Lead and Copper Rule task group with which Lambrinidou was affiliated, I asked her to give me an example of anything she saw during testing that the EPA specifically advises not to do. It was explained to me by her that this is required by the EPA in order for the water to absorb any lead from the plumbing during these stagnation times. Pre-flushing, as recommended by certain testing recommendations, involves running the water for several minutes or until it is cold. she stated, “Flint was assuring its residents that they weren’t finding elevated lead levels in the samples they were testing.” It was then done by Virginia Tech without pre-flushing. I could feel the difference,” she said. “It was noticeable.”
The Philadelphia Water Department’s sample instructions, marked in red by Lambrinidou, with procedures that defy the EPA’s standards.
But why on earth would anyone do something like this? This is a fair issue brought up by Lambrinidou: These agencies are under a lot of pressure to conserve money. If the public is made aware of the dangers of lead pollution, the city may be forced to pay for expensive repairs or the replacement of supply lines. System hacking is more common than you might think; it happened again this week in Ohio, according to some reports.
What do you think of the claim that the United States water is the safest in the world? According to her, the goal should be to prove the allegation “is a noble one.” A disservice is done by making such statements without requesting evidence to back them up.
Is it possible for communities to address elevated levels of lead if they are discovered? A decade previously, a similar situation occurred in Washington, DC, which was handled by Edwards and the Virginia Tech team. More than 83 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s “action level” of 15 parts per billion was found in certain homes due to significant pipe corrosion and the substitution of an anti-corrosion chemical with another.. A full six months had passed before the locals were finally told.
An attorney with National Resources Defence Council’s health programme, Mae Wu, was one of the residents whose names were included in a lawsuit filed this week to force Flint to replace its water lines. According to Wu, DC has gone to great pains to not just make required infrastructure improvements, but also to educate its citizens about their water. “The new head of DC’s water is out in the open, out on the ground, roaming the streets every day,” she continues, referring to the city’s water supply. Although it has been ten years, DC residents have learned to be more cautious.
Wu was aware that her 95-year-old home had deteriorating plumbing, which put her and her family at greater risk. As a result, she had her water tested by a reputable laboratory, and it was found to contain traces of lead. On the list of filters approved by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) for the removal of lead and numerous other possible toxins, Wu looked. It was a good idea to have one installed as a safety net. It’s not filtered, but she still drinks it.
However, there is another problem with lead that needs to be taken into consideration. Flint’s plan to replace all of the city’s lead service lines is just half-baked. It’s possible to have the city’s pipes rebuilt using federal or state money, but homeowners must also replace the lead pipes in their own homes. Low-income residents in cities with high levels of lead are harmed because they cannot afford to renovate.
Water infrastructure retrofitting isn’t merely out of reach for homeowners. Lead levels in the drinking water of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s schools were found to be excessive in 2008, according to the district. The lines were promised to be replaced. However, as a result of the recession, schools were forced to disable or remove drinking fountains rather than invest in new plumbing. Due to a lack of funds, several students became dehydrated during school.
WeTap founder Evelyn Wendel believes that protecting public water sources is critical since they are used by the most vulnerable members of society, including children and low-income households. There should be more drinking fountains in public places, such as schools and parks, to ensure that the public has access to clean, drinkable tap water. In California, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 496 last year, which mandates free, fresh water in schools and forces schools to repair and maintain their water infrastructure rather than shut it off.
WeTap has collaborated with the city of Los Angeles to develop new water stations that will become part of the city’s urban landscape and become a source of pride for the residents of LA.
What happened at LAUSD disturbed me not just because it was a retrograde response to the problem of water shortages, but also because it seemed to portend a dystopian future in which society is headed toward a semi-privatised water system with two tiers of service. Moreover, the severity of the issue is only likely to rise. This year, agricultural interests overtaxed groundwater in several California cities, causing wells to run dry. Additionally, our water security is being threatened by droughts, superstorms and rising sea levels.
Filling my daughter’s sippy cup with tap water when she was old enough to drink it was a no-brainer. Another mother’s eyebrows lifted. You’re drinking tap water with your baby??” That’s correct.
However, there is a catch. We just recently moved into a 104-year-old house and are loving every minute of our new home. However, given everything I’ve learned this week, I’d like to get the pipes checked out. For now, we’re filtering our tap water until I acquire this information from my own home.
Is it safe to drink the water that comes out of your faucet? Because water quality varies so much from city to city, I’m afraid I’m powerless to provide a solution. However, I am able to provide you with the answers to the questions you need to know in order to drink from your tap with confidence. Demanding answers from the individuals who supply our water is a necessary part of our daily lives. Because our water is our lifeblood, we should never be scared to watch out for it.
My one-year-old daughter’s first word was, in fact, agua. Bottled water is something she has never tried before. Her response to the question of where she gets her water is to point to the kitchen sink, not the refrigerator or a filtered pitcher. I’m determined to keep it that way.
Find out what the dangers are of lead, how to look out for symptoms of contamination, and some basic safety measures by reading the EPA and CDC guidelines on lead. You should keep lead levels below 15 pbb, but if you have children, you should keep them even lower.
Look up the testing regulations in your area. It was urged to me by the Los Angeles County Department of Health to check my water company’s annual report. The Consumer Confidence Report, included on the CD, serves as a reference for deciphering the data. This information must be made available to you by your water company.
Your tap water should be tested. If you live in a city, you’re likely to get this service for free. Independent groups will test for a little price if you aren’t confident in the utility. My utility does not do testing, but the state’s Water Resources Control Board can provide a list of qualified testers.
Do a lead test on your property if you reside in an older home. Pipes were made of lead, as was paint until 1978, which can flake off and be eaten. According to the EPA, there is lead-based paint in 87% of all homes built before 1940.
Lead can be removed to EPA standards via gravity-fed filters. In order to determine whether or not you actually require a filter system, you might consult the NSF’s comprehensive drinking water webpage.
Do a lead test on your children. If you or a member of your family is at risk for any of the conditions listed above, your doctor will likely suggest an annual blood test.