Lead in D.C.'s tap water -- another Bush-era legacy?
The D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (WASA), apparently, has spent a good portion of the 2000s pumping its customers full of lead -- and others, it seems, spent an equally good portion of the decade trying to cover that inconvenient truth up.
In 2003, lead concentrations in Washington’s drinking water reached historically high levels. In an effort to assuage residents’ fears, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hastily performed an analysis and deemed the water to be safe. This week, though, an investigation by the House Science and Technology Subcommittee revealed that in the analysis, the CDC ignored data that, according to The Post's Carol D. Leonning, “showed clear harm to children from the water.” Moreover, Leonning continues, “CDC authors knew the data was flawed.” And, finally, Mary Jean Brown, the senior author of the CDC analysis, admitted to congressional investigators that she “didn’t have a lot of confidence” in the 2004 data but had agreed to release the report anyway because of federal pressure.
But the most outrageous aspect to the drinking-water crisis is that, under George W. Bush’s CDC, such contamination -- and ensuing subterfuge -- was practically inevitable. In the summer of 2002, just weeks before the CDC Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention convened to discuss more stringent federal standards for lead poisoning, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson removed committee researchers and replaced them with a fistful of experts more likely to treat the lead industry with kid gloves. What’s more, the Union of Concerned Scientists noted that two of Thompson’s ringers had financial ties to the lead industry, including one who had previously provided expert testimony for Sherwin-Williams paint in a lead poisoning case. The stricter lead guidelines never came to pass.
A lesson Americans must learn as they continue to recover from the Bush years: At all levels of government, oversight of basic necessities such as safe and clean drinking water must be conducted by independent and non-politicized individuals and organizations. Moreover, this oversight needs to be performed vigilantly and regularly; the safety of drinking water should be addressed by a scrambled, ad hoc P.R. campaign that masquerades as solid science. Such laxity can only save a utility’s image temporarily -- and imperil the public it serves.
Posted by: maryellen1 | May 21, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: sambam | May 21, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: austinrl | May 22, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: battleground51 | May 22, 2010 5:35 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bryangalt1 | May 22, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: happyacres | May 22, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: elgropo1 | May 22, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bethg1841 | May 22, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bbface21 | May 22, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: onehanded | May 22, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: cynicalidealist | May 22, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 22, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: rheinstein | May 23, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: mikel7 | May 23, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: nashbridges | May 23, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: jcgillen | May 23, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: NNevada | May 24, 2010 2:19 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: JimDavisNewsmax | May 24, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: RationalThought2 | May 24, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.