Lead Poisoning Is Still a National Issue

Vox: “The problem of lead exposure among children is not a local Flint story … The data that is available shows that lead exposure is a pervasive issue in the United States. In some places outside of Flint, more than half of children test positive for lead poisoning.”

“Nine counties nationwide told the CDC that 10 percent or more of their lead poisoning tests came back positive. Four of them are in Louisiana, two in Alabama, and the rest scattered across West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Oklahoma.”

“These are places that have told the federal government they actually have higher rates of lead poisoning than Flint, where officials say the number hovers around 4 percent. But these aren’t places we talk about that much.”

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“The map above uses CDC data to show lead poisoning rates across the country. The reason so many of the counties are light gray is that most counties simply don’t report this information — nor are they required to.”


  1. This is vastly more dangerous to us as a nation than terrorism ever could be.

    And we treat it as a some kind of local municipal issue, most of the time.

    One of the prime reasons the murder rate in this nation fell, that crime dropped off so radically, is that we took steps to avoid children having their brains damaged by lead paint.

    There should not be ANY lead pipes in this country. Jesus, is this the 21st century or the 19th?

    1. Getting rid of lead paint was a big contributor to the decline in lead levels, but the real key was getting lead out of gasoline in the mid 70s. You could inhale lead from gas exhaust, and it settled on roadsides, playgrounds, sidewalks – basically anything near a road, parking lot, etc.

  2. Brain damage caused by lead ingestion isn’t something that one can see on television, but the results of a terrorist act easily can be shown on television.

    I think that is why Americans for the most part ignore the dangers of lead (and other contaminants) in water yet are fearful of a terrorist attack (even though the odds of someone in the US being killed by lightning are greater than the odds of being killed by a terrorist).

    1. I don’t think we ignore it–we buy no end of filters to protect ourselves from lead and other harmful substances in our water. We just don’t seem to have the national will to end it. Just say the magic word ‘taxes!’, and we blink.

      We didn’t even stop using lead in plumbing until the 1990’s, believe it or not. It’s everywhere, particularly in cities.


      276 billion dollars, and 20 years, to get it done.

      Well worth it.

      1. It is false logic to think that just because you purchase filters to protect yourself from lead that “we” do the same.

        Other than that, I agree with your comment.

        1. I live in New York, where tap water has been exceptionally good. I don’t purchase filters myself, and was using ‘we’ to indicate that there are massive sales of water filters, indicating mass awareness of tap water impurities. Other than that, I would agree with everything else you’ve said, if you’d actually said anything. 😉

    2. Hmm. More than likely, most Americans aren’t even aware of the lead dangers still rampant in our infrastructure. I know I wasn’t.

      Since water quality is regarded primarily as a community /municipal issue, people wouldn’t necessarily know what things are like in other places and states. Indeed, there are around 160,000 public water systems in the US — a network that the EPA does NOT directly oversee; that is left to a mix of local water authorities and state environmental and health agencies.

      And although the Safe Drinking Water Act mandates that public water systems provide a yearly “report card” to their consumers, it’s unclear how many water authorities do so — or more importantly, if local consumers even read it.

      However — considering the national outrage the whole, sorry Flint story has engendered –hopefully that lack of public awareness and concern will be short-lived.

      Interestingly enough, the last time the Safe Drinking Water Act was amended was in 2005 — to deliberately exclude fracking injections into the ground from any oversight by the EPA (aka “the Haliburton Loophole).

      FYI: I live in Richmond, VA, which has excellent drinking water. (Our consumer confidence reports are always a year behind, though — which seems wrong, since you would only find out after a year if anything were amiss, eh?) And I actually look at the annual water quality report — though I have no way of knowing if anything in the published report has been fudged, whatever.

      Here’s that report for 2014:

  3. Some people just don’t care unless it’s in their back yard. Then it becomes a one-world communist conspiracy.

  4. Some people just don’t care unless it’s in their back yrd. Then it becomes a one-world communist conspiracy.

  5. Some people just don’t care unless it’s in their back yrd. Then it becomes a one-world communist conspiracy.

  6. Some people just don’t care unless it’s in their back yarThen it becomes a one-world communist conspiracy.

  7. Some people just don’t care unless it’s in their back yar Then it becomes a one-world communist conspiracy.

  8. Some people just don’t care unless it’s in their back yarhen it becomes a one-world communist conspiracy.

  9. Some people just don’t care unless it’s in their backd. Then it becomes a one-world communist conspiracy.

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