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Protests in New Orleans in 2016 Photo: Matthew Hinton, BuzzFeed News
New Orleans city officials, according to BuzzFeed News, buried a 2017 city Inspector General Report that showed that they had failed to test for lead in the water and they claimed that the City’s water was safe even though they were unable to locate the city’s many lead pipes — both of which they are required to do under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. And last week, water samples from 27 schools in Virginia Beach, Virginia were found to have levels of lead higher than industry safety recommendations.
BuzzFeed News reports that in 2016 “about 11% of the kids under 6 in New Orleans tested for blood lead showed concentrations at or above 5 micrograms per deciliter (the CDC maintains that no level of blood lead is safe for children).”
“That’s far higher than the national figure — 2.5% of kids between 1 and 5 — and double the rate in Flint during the water crisis there, when 5% of kids tested had blood lead levels that high.”
The issue of lead contamination has now been raised in states across the country.
On October 10th, Governor Newsome of California signed a new law that workers in the state who have high blood lead levels will now have their cases referred to the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health – or Cal/OSHA – for review and possible action against their employers who are supposed to control lead exposure.
In 1970, the Clean Air Act became law and it required the phase-out and ultimately the elimination of leaded gasoline in the U.S. by the late 1980s.
In 1959, the Bruco Battery Company illegally dumped 500 used battery casings in an African American neighborhood in Chicago’s West Side.
But the study of lead’s toxicity goes back to the early 20th century when a physician name Alice Hamilton in Chicago published investigative reports about the dangers of lead poisoning of immigrant workers.
To Go Deeper: Read the full BuzzfeedNews article about New Orleans’ water issues here.
As California’s drought conditions are worsening, Nestle is pumping millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino forest. State water officials have drafted a cease-and-desist order to force the company to stop overpumping from Strawberry Creek, which provides drinking water for about 750,000 people.
The ice-out date for Maine’s Lake Auburn is now three weeks earlier than it was two centuries ago, the Portland Press Herald reports, and other lakes across New England show similar trends. Climate change is not good for ice, and that includes Maine’s lakes that freeze over every winter.
Why This Matters: A disrupted winter with lakes that “defrost” earlier has multiple knock-on effects for freshwater: in addition to harming fish in lakes, the resulting large cyanobacteria algae blooms that form can be harmful to human health.
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