Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Lead Levels in Water Misrepresented Across U.S.

A key segment:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is supposed to ensure that states are monitoring utilities, has also let communities ignore requirements to reduce lead. In 2003, records show, the EPA ordered utilities to remedy violations in just 14 cases, less than one-tenth of the number ordered in 1997.

Taken together, the records point to a national problem just months after disclosures that lead levels in the District's water are among the highest in the country, a problem the city's utility concealed for months. Documents from other cities show that many have made similar efforts to hide high lead readings, taking advantage of lax national and state oversight (my bold) and regulations riddled with loopholes.


...this year, the EPA dropped drinking water altogether from its enforcement priority list, records show.

First mercury in the air and fish, now lead in the water. Kerry should specifically mention this story on Friday (or Edwards tonight). They should make the point it's one thing to protect the country from terrorists -- which is a very difficult, imperfect endeavor -- it's quite another to willfully look the other way when it comes to enforcing anti-pollution laws and coming down hard on those who violate them. We may get hit by terrorists tomorrow OR not for another ten years (20 years?), but to tolerate the poisoning of water (and air), ultimately harming our health and eventually killing many, is in many ways a much worse outcome. For this administration to play up their earnest desire to root out evil doers, and yet allow such evil doing to occur on a regular basis when it comes to our environment is outrageous.

Whether one dies from a bomb exploding or dies from a health issue brought on by environmental toxins, what's the difference? The former we can do only so much to avoid, yet the latter we have much more control over. And after all, dead is dead no matter the cause.

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