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Posted at 8:22 PM ET, 07/15/2010

D.C. Council's due diligence on water safety

By washingtonpost.com editors

By David Jacobs,
Washington
The writer is the chairman of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Advisory Committee to the D.C. Department of the Environment.

Regarding the July 4 Local Opinions commentary “CDC must do more to respond to the D.C. lead cover-up”:

Authors Dana Best and Marc Edwards asserted that a flawed study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was “used by the D.C. Council to justify the elimination of all water-related language from the bill it passed to prevent lead poisoning.” This is simply wrong.

Neither Dr. Best nor Mr. Edwards was involved in the deliberations, in which I took part, that led to passage of that landmark law. Under the leadership of council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), a group of building owners, scientists, advocates, policymakers and others worked to achieve consensus on the 2008 lead-poisoning prevention law. The CDC findings about lead in D.C. drinking water were never discussed in our deliberations because the 2008 lead-poisoning prevention law targeted building owners’ responsibilities, not because anyone believed that lead in water was unimportant.

The District’s law aimed at preventing lead poisoning is well-reasoned and practical and is proving effective. Dr. Best and Mr. Edwards do a disservice to D.C. residents by looking backward instead of forward. The critical step to protecting children in the District and across the country from lead in drinking water is tightening the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations and safety thresholds.


By washingtonpost.com editors  | July 15, 2010; 8:22 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, environment, public health  
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