As the nation faces a major water crisis, utilities all across the country continue to leave the lead pipe in the ground even when it would be easiest to remove during water main work.
Worse yet, this practice is allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This means that sections of lead pipe are being disturbed and left behind which increases lead levels and can cause lifelong harm, especially in young children.
Lead poisoning can lower IQ and deprive kids of problem-solving skills. The EPA recognizes that no amount of lead is safe for children but utilities still try to reduce costs while dodging responsibility.
Medical anthropologist Yanna Lambrinidou from Virginia Tech and co-founder of the Campaign for Lead Free Water says “I can’t but think of partial replacements as immoral because they involve a witting decision by government agencies to leave residents at continued risk of exposure”.
Many cities have tried to use chemical treatment instead of replacing entire lengths of lead pipes however this isn’t foolproof either.
Some cities have committed themselves to taking out all lead piping but lack enough resources to do so adequately due to years of negligence around this issue.
It has occurred in Providence, Chicago and other places, continuing today in Oklahoma City, Allentown (PA), Nashville & Memphis (TN) and St Louis.
Although more money and attention has been drawn recently towards removing all lead piping entirely from every city affected by it, it remains legal for these companies to continue leaving them behind without consequence or reprimand from any governing body or agency making sure our public health concerns are met adequately with safety standards being upheld at the highest level possible within reasonableness.
The EPA first set limits on lead in drinking water way back in 1991 requiring utilities with exceptions made for certain cases such as when high levels were detected — only then was full replacement required rather than partial replacements.
American Water Works Association challenged this regulation claiming there wasn’t enough public opinion involved leading to a federal appeals court agreement in 1994 which resulted in the EPA caving in to pressure from these big corporations
This gave them free rein over how much responsibility they took on their shoulders regarding protecting citizens against such poisoning dangers due primarily to outdated infrastructure adopted many decades ago before such knowledge was common knowledge among society as we know it today.
This should have stopped a long time ago according to Lambrinidou yet here we are today with countless people throughout multiple cities put at risk due to willful neglect on behalf of corporate interests undercutting those who actually have something meaningful invested in their communities.
The citizens who live there day after day rely on local governments working together with private industries upholding basic considerations through clean drinking water accessible safely without fear of contamination through chemical treatments or otherwise having its quality compromised now or later down the road despite best efforts implemented now or soon come likewise ensure same given opportunities afforded everyone else within respective societies regardless where one lives.