Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Guardian: American Cities “Cheat” on Lead Testing of Tap Water

with one comment

This strikes me as insane behavior. Not just unethical or dishonest or illegal, but insane: sacrificing the lives of children (because of the effect of lead on neural development: low-grade lead poisoning produces violent individuals: violence in the US dropped big-time 20 years after leaded gasoline was eliminated) for no reason other than you do not want to do your job, which is to determine lead levels in drinking water. It’s their damn job, and they don’t do it.

Kevin Drum blogs:

The Guardian claims that “at least 33” large American cities use testing methods deliberately designed to undercount the presence of lead in tap water:

Of these cities, 21 used the same water testing methods that prompted criminal charges against three government employees in Flint over their role in one of the worst public health disasters in US history.

….Testing methods that can avoid detecting lead include asking testers to run faucets before the test period, known as “pre-flushing”; to remove faucet filters called “aerators”; and to slowly fill sample bottles. The EPA reiterated in February that these lead-reducing methods go against its guidelines, and the Flint charges show they may now be criminal acts.

….The EPA has warned since 2008 that pre-flushing is problematic and goes against the “intent” of regulations designed to detect lead….Further distortion is achieved through the removal of “aerators” — the small metal filters at the tip of faucets. These filters can collect lead particles and add to lead detected in tests.

I don’t know how serious this is. I suppose no one will know until these cities collect data properly and compare it to their old results. . .

Continue reading.

Chart at the link. The lede of the original Guardian article is worth reading:

At least 33 cities across 17 US states have used water testing “cheats” that potentially conceal dangerous levels of lead, a Guardian investigation launched in the wake of the toxic water crisis in Flint, Michigan, has found.

Of these cities, 21 used the same water testing methods that prompted criminal charges against three government employees in Flint over their role in one of the worst public health disasters in US history.

The crisis that gripped Flint is an extreme case where a cost-cutting decision to divert the city’s water supply to a polluted river was compounded by a poor testing regime and delays by environmental officials to respond to the health emergency.

The Guardian’s investigation demonstrates that similar testing regimes were in place in cities including Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee. . .

Later:

  • Some cities denied knowledge of the locations of lead pipes, failed to sample the required number of homes with lead plumbing or refused to release lead pipe maps, claiming it was a security risk.

What happened to this country? Maybe we weren’t great, but at least we seemed to be good. No more. It’s a system in rapid decline. The rule of law is giving way. Billionaires can carry on private vendettas. Police departments do as they please.

It’s not a good society.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 June 2016 at 3:00 pm

One Response

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  1. The “security risk” response is one that gets used any time there are questions about critical infrastructure. It’s security through obscurity, which is no real security at all, but that’s the path that’s been chosen. Even the water meters by a private vendor fall under this – asking how they work is a security threat.

    http://boingboing.net/2016/05/24/seattle-smart-meter-vendor-say.html

    vmarks

    4 June 2016 at 5:10 pm


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