Flint, MI, is not the only city in the United States to suffer from lead poisoning.
Newsone reports that Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence is calling to improve America’s water infrastructure. As one of the Congressional leaders looking to get to the bottom of the water crisis in Flint, she explained that it’s not the only city in America struggling with lead poisoning.
“Communities throughout the United States are suffering similar fates due to the aging water infrastructure we have failed to address for generations,” Lawrence stated. “The EPA and the American Society for Civil Engineers estimate there are more that one million miles of water pipeline in the U.S., and we have 240,000 water main breaks every year. That’s a break every two minutes.”
Overall, this means that millions of people are exposed to lead every time they wash dishes, take a shower, or cook and drink with water.
The Environmental Protection Agency oversees this water, which is sent to around six million people; around 250 of those systems go directly to schools and daycare facilities. The majority of these facilities fail to notify consumers their water is contaminated and do not take responsibility until it is too late.
Children are the most at risk for lead poisoning. Lead is a neurotoxin that harms the brains of developing children leaving irreversible health effects. Exposure to lead can lead to developmental delays, low IQ, attention disorders, and other problems at school. Additionally, children who face lead poisoning are seven times more likely to drop out of school and are six times more likely to become involved in the juvenile justice system.
It all relates to costs. Unfortunately the cost to replace all of the water pipes falls on the nation’s poorer citizens, as will be the ones to suffer the most from this crisis.