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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.
The Guardian reports that farmers in the Chihuahua region of Mexico are violently protesting their government’s exports of water to the U.S. in the midst of a major drought there. The protests have been going on for months — they even took over the La Boquilladam — and the government responded by calling in their national guard to quell them.
Why this Matters: The climate crisis has been worsening droughts in both Mexico and the US, causing water to become an increasingly contested resource.
Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency finalized the rollback an Obama-era rule that would have, as the Washington Post reported, forced coal plants to treat wastewater with more modern, effective methods in order to curb toxic metals such as arsenic and mercury from contaminating lakes, rivers, and streams near their facilities. The rollback is in line […]
by Julia Fine, ODP Contributing Writer Recent research in Geophysical Research Letters has revealed that “back-to-back bad snow years are likely to become much more frequent in the not-too-distant future,” Alejandra Borunda reported in National Geographic this month. There is now approximately a 7% chance that typically snow-filled regions in the Western US will “get […]
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