On the whole, American drinking water is safe. However, more than a year after toxic lead levels forced a federal state of emergency in Flint, MI, 63 percent of Americans report that they worry a great deal about polluted drinking water. This statistic comes from a new Gallup poll indicating that water pollution ranks the highest of six environmental concerns among respondents. While pipes in Flint are expected to be replaced with the help of a $97 million settlement, there are other cities with histories of unsafe lead levels - or other toxins - in drinking water. These contaminants can threaten health, particularly among children. This Forum grappled with safekeeping American drinking water supplies. Does the drinking water infrastructure need replacement? How would such an effort look? Do public alert systems help? What about other potential lead exposure sources? What is the role of regulation in a time of proposed deep cuts to EPA funding? What does the public need to know? This timely discussion was held in advance of Earth Day.
Presented April 20, 2017, jointly with The Huffington Post.
Watch the entire series at ForumHSPH.org.
On latest episode of The Real Baltimore we host an expert panel on “the most preventable public health threat” facing the city
Lead poisoning, once epidemic among Baltimore’s poor, is now much now less common, but it is still claiming young victims years after authorities vowed to eradicate it. At least 4,900 Maryland children have been poisoned by lead in the past decade, their brains exposed to a toxic contaminant that often causes lasting learning and behavioral problems.
Lead causes delayed language and motor skills. It can affect a child’s behavior and attention span. The effects can’t be reversed.
Nationally, childhood exposure to lead has decreased over the past 30 years, after lead was removed from gasoline and paint in the 1970s.
But Lancaster County still has a big lead problem.
Lead poisoning is a national problem. If only lawmakers were as concerned as the puppets on Sesame Street.
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