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Why This Matters: Because of the way that lead accumulates in the body, ingesting even small amounts of it over a long period of time can be damaging to human health. The effects of long-term lead exposure in children include reduced IQ, lower academic performance, and attention deficit disorders. The study, conducted by Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), found that 15% of homes had high enough concentrations of lead to cause an IQ drop of half a point in infants exclusively fed formula mixed with tap water.
Only 26% of infants in the United States are exclusively breastfed from birth to six months of age. Most will be fed some form of formula, most likely powdered, during that time, which may put them at risk for lead exposure.
Twenty-six percent of Black infants are never breastfed, more than any other demographic. Many of these infants are fed exclusively with formula mixed with tap water.
Christin Farmer, the founder of Cleveland based Birthing Beautiful Communities, explained that in her city, maps showing lead in water supplies lined up very closely with maps of disadvantaged and low-income neighborhoods, “Black children have a disadvantage before they even arrive.”
Removing lead drinking water lines from the homes of children born in 2018 alone could protect 350,000 children and yield $2.7 billion.
The EPA, experts say, has dragged its feet, allowing loopholes in the system to disqualify dangerous pipes from removal processes.
Jane Houlihan, research director for HBBF, wants families to know that there is no need to panic and that there are ways to make sure that every feeding method is safe for infants. She encourages families to have their water tested, use water filters as an affordable way to prevent lead exposure, and use cold water for consumption as it is less likely to leech contaminants from pipes.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Contributing Writer Tucson is one of the fastest-warming cities in the country. Right now, it’s coming off of a record-breaking September for heat and drought. The city declared a climate emergency earlier this year and set a goal of becoming carbon neutral in the next 10 years. As part of hitting […]
As National Geographic recently reported, on Friday new findings from the most comprehensive scientific expedition to Mt. Everest (known locally as Sagarmatha and Chomolangma) in history were released in the journal One Earth. This new research, part of the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition, sheds crucial information about how climate change […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Contributing Writer Collectively, the Great Lakes are the world’s largest freshwater system. They provide drinking water, food, even the fresh air we breathe. The five lakes are “arguably the continent’s most precious resource,” National Geographic writes in the magazine’s December cover story. And they’re in trouble. Toxic chemicals from agriculture, invasive […]
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