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Posted at 8:50 PM ET, 12/ 1/2010

D.C. water may still be contaminated

By Ashley Halsey III and Mike DeBonis

The water in almost 15,000 D.C. homes that were repaired during a massive effort to remove lead pipes may still be contaminated by dangerous levels of the metal, according to a report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If those residences are home to small children, pregnant women or anyone with a compromised immune system, the water should be tested, said George Hawkins, general manager of D.C. Water.

Read the report here. (PDF)

The CDC concluded that homeowners who had pipes only partially replaced might have made the problem worse. The center also confirmed that children living in the District were exposed to lead poisoning from 2000 to 2006 as an inadvertent result of efforts to disinfect the water supply caused lead pipes to corrode and leach into the water that flowed through them.

The findings are a sharp reversal by the federal health agency, which initially claimed that they found no evidence that spikes in the level of lead in the water had harmed D.C. residents. A congressional inquiry concluded in May that the CDC knowingly used false data in making a “scientifically indefensible” claim that the water was safe to drink.

The report marks the first time the CDC has publicly acknowledged that there was measurable health risk from the city’s lead crisis and that the primary remedy appears to have been flawed.

Stay with for more.

By Ashley Halsey III and Mike DeBonis  | December 1, 2010; 8:50 PM ET
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Children damaged by this with conditions such as mental retardation, etc. What a crying shame. Washington is all excited about a new rail system, sending billions overseas to Pakistan, fighting AIDS in Africa, and our own children are being damaged because of contaminated infrastructure. SHame on us.

Posted by: eaglesnest1 | December 1, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

The continuing sad consequences of imposing politics onto the decisions of science based regulatory agencies (EPA, FDA, etc.), instead of allowing them to use the consensus scientific results to make an informed decision. American exceptionalism: we really do have the best politicians money can buy ...

Posted by: Bushman1969 | December 1, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice if WASA contacted the homes affected, made an announcement on how to get water tested, and facilitated getting it done rapidly.

Posted by: Steamed-On-G-St-NE | December 1, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Which neighborhoods are these 15,000 homes in?? Please complete this report. That pdf is written in academic Greek. Please help your readers figure out if they are in danger. Most of us rent in this city -- how do we know if our pipes are part of this? This is scary.

Posted by: bberg991 | December 1, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

What is going on with these politicians and governmental agencies?!?!!!

Posted by: coffic | December 1, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

From DC Water's (formerly WASA)publication on lead pipe FAQs:

Q. How can I confirm my home’s water service pipe is lead?
A. Contact DC Water’s Customer Service Line at (202) 354-3600 or email We will check our database that shows pipe material for District addresses.

The new study states that WASA provided the researchers with a list of homes that have lead pipes, so they should be able to tell you if you contact them directly.

Posted by: Sarah56 | December 1, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

How could this happen? I thought the debate was over. Scientists agreed. They cannot be wrong. Someone must have done this just to steal a profit. Down with the capitalist pigs and up with green pipes made of natural products that will never hurt us and provide jobs for all.

Posted by: neiman1 | December 1, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

If you live in a home with lead pipes it is your responsiblity to identify it and correct it. It is not the government's responsibility to baby sit your ass.

Posted by: lbennatt | December 2, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: ibrahimali2009 | December 2, 2010 3:45 AM | Report abuse

We have Lead test kits for water & surfaces in stock. We even have a saliva test. Online orders arrive 1 day with UPS Ground to Washington DC. Visit us at . Click the category for LEAD, MOLD & DRUG TEST.

Posted by: InspectUSA | December 2, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

A month ago all water in New Orleans was not potable, when a treatment plant shut down (cleaning Mississippi River water)for three days.

The condition of municipal infrastructures is just one reason I advise friends to move from cities now, or in the near future. Don't freak, just plan.

Newark just laid off 13% of their police force. Muni bonds are losing ratings
in most places and grocery and gasoline costs aren't looking back.

I heat my home with firewood I cut and split. I grow my own vegetables. And, if and when meat prices bump over "ridiculous" (and they are closing in) there's husbandry, trapping, hunting and fishing. I put up 50# of venison last week.

Ladies and gentlemen be advised, self reliance is the best investment you'll ever make. Besides, a 45 minute drive gets us to Bourbon St. or LSU's Tiger Stadium. Y'all come see us in the La. Delta (once you check the weather).


Posted by: BluePelican | December 2, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Generations of babies grew up in those same homes, and there is no evidence of lead-damaged brains.

Just look at the adults of D.C. for my evidence!

Posted by: TimKern | December 2, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Lead in pipes is not water soluable, unless it comes in contact with an ion that binds with lead (Pb+) such as Flouride (Fl-) becoming PbFl. When will the CDC and ADA (American Dental Association), finally acknowledge what most countries and a few counties in the US have realized: It is time to stop the practice of adding Fluoride to our drinking water.

Posted by: bamn | December 2, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Interested in hearing more about this. Our son's two oldest kids have had behavioral problems forever, and two youngest are fine. His wife suffers from depression and memory loss. They lived in Pittsburg KS in early marriage and, through some searching via google, he finds that Pittsburg was at one time a major lead smelting area. The CDC had investigated the water, dirt and dust in Pittsburg last year and when he called to find out where they were testing, they would not tell him. Researching a little more we learned that all the problems his kids and wife have can be caused by drinking water w/lead in it and/or the dust and dirt in the surrounding area. They knew in the 70's that ingested lead could be a serious PERMANENT problem, but didn't start checking Pittsburg until March '09..and now won't tell him if his house was possibly at risk. They are having their children tested for lead in their would still be there if they had it in infancy and early childhood. Our son never drank the water as the others did, plus having Iron Overload, he would not have absorbed the lead anyway. Hope to see more on this...

Posted by: suzannemaschler | December 5, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

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