(COMMON DREAMS) Deirdre Fulton, March 17, 2016 — While a congressional hearing Thursday focused attention on the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, news reporting from around the country reveals that the problem of lead-contamination afflicts communities nationwide.
A multi-part USA Today investigation published this week identified almost 2,000 additional water systems in all 50 states where testing has shown excessive levels of lead contamination over the past four years. “The water systems, which reported lead levels exceeding Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] standards, collectively supply water to 6 million people,” according to reporters Alison Young and Mark Nichols.
The series installment released Thursday details hundreds of educational facilities across the nation “where children were exposed to water containing excessive amounts of an element doctors agree is unsafe at any level.”
According to the paper’s analysis of EPA data, about 350 schools and day-care centers failed lead tests a total of about 470 times from 2012 through 2015.
Indeed, NPR ran a story on Wednesday on how “[b]ottled water has actually become a long-term solution in Baltimore,” where elevated lead levels were discovered in scores of schools in 1992. After years of trying to fix the problem, NPR reported, “in 2007, the entire school district switched to bottled water.”