Back in the 1960s, a Pulitzer prize-winning scientist described the downside of childhood lead poisoning as “so well defined, so neatly packaged with both causes and cures known, that if we don’t eliminate this social crime, our society deserves all the disasters that have been forecast for it.”
As I focus on in my video Lead in Drinking Water, “We have the knowledge required to redress this social crime. We know where the lead is, how people are exposed, and how it damages health. What we lack is the political will to do what should be done.” Unfortunately, “many policy makers consider the costs of action primarily in economic and financial terms and ignore the costs of inaction on human health and communities’ livelihoods.”
“At this point, most Americans have heard of the avoidable and abject failure of government on the local, state and federal level; environmental authorities; and water company officials”—in truth, failure throughout the board—“to prevent the mass poisoning of hundreds of children and adults in Flint, Michigan.”
“A government plan to save some money had led public officials to switch the city’s water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River, once the sewer for the auto industry.” Flint residents “complained that their tap water was foul and discolored. But city, state, and federal officials took no heed.”
Why? Could it have something to do with the incontrovertible fact that those that complained are “among the poorest in America, mostly African American”?
Officials didn’t act for eighteen months, “until a local pediatrician revealed dramatically elevated lead levels in children’s blood.” An investigation didn’t simply discover fault however highlighted seeming falsification of water-quality outcomes to maintain folks in the darkish.
Though “the specific breed of alleged government corruption” could also be distinctive to Flint, “the end result might not be so rare in the USA—home to an ageing water system.” As the president of the Children’s Health Fund mentioned, “The Pandora’s box is now wide open.” Flint could also be solely “the tip of an enormous iceberg”—probably “just one of a great many icebergs.”
“In addition to lead-based paint and residual lead in soil”—discovered all over the place from leaded gasoline—“a significant source of childhood lead exposure occurs through drinking water as a result of leaching from lead pipes, lead solder, or brass fixtures.” This has been acknowledged to be a health difficulty in the United States as early as 1845, a yr our flag solely had 26 stars. Yet, the use of lead in water pipes and solder was not restricted till the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendment, 141 years later. Was the metropolis you’re dwelling in constructed earlier than 1986 when the modification was handed? Today, the “exact number of lead water pipes currently in use is not clear” as about one in three cities surveyed shrugged their shoulders, “not being able to state how much lead piping exists.”
There are anti-corrosion chemical substances you may add to faucet water to attempt to maintain the lead in the pipes. Flint might have performed that, however it might have price about $100 a day. Today, “the cost of repairing the Flint water system is estimated at $1.5 billion…”
Let me shut with a quote from the heroic pediatrician who blew the whistle, Dr. Hanna-Attisha. She was requested, “What advice would you have for other physicians taking on a whistle-blower role?” She replied, “This is our job. This is why we went to medical school—to help people.”
Wasn’t there lead in paint, too, for the longest time? Yes, and that’s the topic of my video How the Lead Paint Industry Got Away with It. And what about leaded gasoline? How many of you keep in mind going to the pumps and seeing the alternative between leaded and unleaded? That’s the topic of How the Leaded Gas Industry Got Away with It.
I additionally get into what the results are and what we will do about it. Check out:
- “Normal” Blood Lead Levels Can Be Toxic
- The Effects of Low-Level Lead Exposure in Adults
- How to Lower Lead Levels with Diet: Thiamine, Fiber, Iron, Fat, Fasting?
- How to Lower Lead Levels with Diet: Breakfast, Whole Grains, Milk, Tofu?
- Best Foods for Lead Poisoning: Chlorella, Cilantro, Tomatoes, Moringa?
- Best Food for Lead Poisoning: Garlic
- Can Vitamin C Help with Lead Poisoning?
- Yellow Bell Peppers for Male Infertility and Lead Poisoning?
- Lead Contamination in Bone Broth
- Lead Contamination of Tea
- Is Lipstick Safe Given the Lead Contamination?
- Can Saunas Detoxify Lead from the Body?
- How Much Lead Is in Organic Chicken Soup (Bone Broth)?
- Lead Contamination in Hot Sauces
- Lead in Calcium Supplements
- How to Lower Heavy Metal Levels with Diet
Michael Greger, M.D.
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