Toxic lead was found in tap water drawn from nearly 70% of 2,797 homes across Chicago within the past two years, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis of results from the tested water. The daily newspaper published a report on that analysis Thursday.
Tap water in three of every 10 homes included in the analysis had lead concentrations above 5 parts per billion, the Tribune reported.
Lead can leach from certain kinds of pipes as water travels from utilities to home faucets. The US Environmental Protection Agency has set its limit for lead in tap water at 15 parts per billion — but for bottled water, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, the limit is 5 parts per billion.
“My immediate take is that Chicago has a lead problem,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and an expert on environmental pollution in children, who was not involved in the Tribune’s analysis.
However, “nobody should panic here. This is a problem that has to be dealt with, but it’s not a cause for panic,” he said. “In the meantime, fortunately, children can be protected here simply by switching water sources,” such as by drinking bottled water.
“Exposure is especially dangerous for young children and for pregnant women because the developing brain of a fetus in the womb or a young baby is very sensitive to lead, and even very low levels of lead exposure can cause brain injury in a child with loss of IQ and disruption of behavior,” Landrigan said. “So people have to take this quite seriously.”
Megan Vidis, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Water Management, said in a statement to CNN on Thursday that the city’s water beats the standards set by the EPA year after year.
The department “takes a proactive approach to mitigating lead in our water system by introducing corrosion control into water mains; providing residences and businesses with complete instructions for flushing whenever there is any water infrastructure work being done in the vicinity; and free lead testing of drinking water,” the statement said.
Um, yea ok.
Read the rest of this article here.
Is it a coincidence that Chicago, like Detroit, is a predominately urban city with this ongoing lead issue? Could racial demographics be the delay in getting these lead filled pipes replaced in these particular cities?
Please leave a comment & let me know what you think.