Report: Every Major US City East Of The Mississippi Is Under-Reporting Heavy Metals In Its Water

Report: 'Every Major US City East of the Mississippi' Is Underreporting Heavy Metals In Its Water

Just when the news about lead poisoning the drinking water of Flint, Michigan, couldn't get any worse. A report from The Guardian says many US cities are systemically and purposely downplaying the amounts of lead and copper in municipal water systems.

A scientist who was part of an Environmental Protection Agency taskforce disclosed documents to The Guardian which shows how water boards are distorting tests to make their water appear safer, a practice confirmed by an anonymous source:

The controversial approach to water testing is so widespread that it occurs in "every major US city east of the Mississippi" according to an anonymous source with extensive knowledge of the lead and copper regulations. "By word of mouth, this has become the thing to do in the water industry. The logical conclusion is that millions of people's drinking water is potentially unsafe," he said.

Specific cities named included Detroit and Philadelphia, and the entire state of Rhode Island.

The documents in question were obtained via FOIA by Dr. Yanna Lambrinidou, who sat on the Environment Protection Agency taskforce that recently proposed revisions on the federal rules for lead. Lambrinidou told The Guardian that more rigorous oversight will reveal more offenders: "There is no way that Flint is a one-off."

This does not mean the Environment Protection Agency is being lax in its regulations, necessarily — rather it's the agency's guidelines that are being ignored by those who are contracted to administer the tests. For example, in Philadelphia and Michigan, testers were instructed by local water boards to run the water for two minutes or until cold before testing for lead, a practice called "pre-flushing," which is seen as controversial.

Even if the incidences of lead and copper are not as high as the anonymous source claims, Lambrinidou's assertion that Flint is not an isolated case is probably right. With corroded pipes to blame, there are many American cities suffering from similar infrastructural neglect. Pair that with a testing system that's so easily gamed, and it may take years for some cities to figure out if their water is truly safe.

[The Guardian]

Sarah Rice/Getty Images


Comments

    Michael Moore tweet: For 2 yrs u have NO safe water to drink. All your children have irreversible brain damage. How long before you'd be leading the uprising?

    I agree. American's need to wake up and take some action.

      The US population has been trampled so much, accepted so many violations, that I think it's best we write them off an use them as a case study in what not to do.

      There is just so much about the way that country is run that disgusts me, but I'm under no illusion that exactly the same kind of shit is trying to pulled right here.

      Steven hawking is right about the next hundred years being the most dangerous for our civilisation, and he's right that we're far more likely to do us in than some unforeseen outside force. But politics? I'm not going out that way!

      Last edited 25/01/16 9:30 am

    Maybe lead poisoning explains how the US is the way it is

    Last edited 25/01/16 10:10 am

    Maybe lead poisoning explains how the US is the way it is

    Last edited 25/01/16 10:12 am

      Are you from the U.S? or merely typing in a cave? :)

      Last edited 25/01/16 9:07 am

        Were you referring to the use of the word 'poising'?

          No i was referring to the fact that the comment was posted twice..... So either they had developed mental problems from the heavy metal problem they were commenting on and forgot they posted the first time or they were typing from a cave hence the echo....... For the record my spelling is atrocious so you know people in glass houses.

          I guess Monday morning may be to early for a light hearted joke?

          Last edited 25/01/16 9:25 am

            Or perhaps I just missed typed and Gizmodo fucked up by posting my comment twice.

            Last edited 25/01/16 10:11 am

              It's OK. Some people have auto correct in their phones or Web browser and they use their abilities with it as a measure of intelligence.

    Seems that you can either die from lead in your water or from a bullet in the states... Either way... Lead kills you...

    I got a 4 liter distiller.
    5 years later it failed, and I got a 40 liter distiller.
    Distilled water tastes so good, I actually want to drink it.

    One warning: Use good toothpaste, there's no fluoride in distilled water.

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