A Sick National Joke: The EPA Lead and Copper Rule Comes (Again) to the U.S. Congress

Back in Summer 1991, the nation was concerned when high lead in water was found in the U.S. Congress:

But thank goodness we fixed the problem with the EPA Lead and Copper Rule.

Whoops. Six months after inhibitor was added to water, in response to the D.C. Lead Crisis, someone checked and the problem with high lead in water was still there.

Capitol Hill Workers Told Not to Drink From Faucets
By David Nakamura Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 12, 2005; Page B03
Capitol Hill employees have been advised not to use water from bathroom and kitchen faucets for drinking or cooking after tests last month discovered excessive levels of lead in water at the Library of Congress.

Now, after Flint, a national lead in water cheating scandal exposed by the Guardian, breaking news on lax enforcement by the EPA, and about the 6th time parents in D.C. schools figured out their kids were being exposed to dangerously high lead….someone decided to check Congress again. Yep….still there.

Lead Contamination in Congressional Office Building Forces Water Shutdown

By now we’re used to Congress’s abysmal public approval ratings and the complaints of our fellow citizens. “They’re doing what with my tax dollars!?” they exclaim. “Geez. It’s almost like there’s something in the water.” Well, actually, there is something in the water. 1:20 PM, Jun 29, 2016 | By Alice B. Lloyd

Nice to know that our Congress, gets just a taste of what Flint residents, our school children and the rest of the nation are enduring.

Author: Dr. Marc Edwards

4 thoughts on “A Sick National Joke: The EPA Lead and Copper Rule Comes (Again) to the U.S. Congress

  1. What happened to the WHO safe lead intake standard of 3 to 4 microgram per kg of body weight, leading to the 15 microgram per liter limit in drinking water, established for a bottle-fed baby of 5 kg drinking 3/4 liter per day, as its only food intake? Or are Americans more sensitive for lead?

    • There is no “safe” lead intake standard at WHO. Official WHO policy is that there is no safe level of water lead exposure– same policy as the US. government.

      The 3-4 ug/kg dose level cited, was that determined to not significantly raise the blood lead of children in the 1970s, when lead poisoning was relatively commonplace, and long before research was done on harm from low level lead exposure. At that time the blood lead threshold for action was 60 ug/dL. Now the action level for lead in blood, is 12 times lower, at 5 ug/dL.

      Applying the 12X lower blood lead standard for action, to the 15 ppb water lead level cited by Maier, gets you in the range of the 1 ppb American Association of Pediatrics 2016 recommended action level.

      We are not arguing for a lower lead in water standard, but we find no evidence to support a 3-4 ug/kg “safe” level of lead exposure in any literature, much less from the WHO. Nor can we find any evidence that American’s are more or less sensitive to lead than anyone else.

      • When you google WHO standard for lead in drinking water, you get a PDF document : WHO standard for lead in drinking water, with a lot of facts and history.
        Since water is a universal solvent and the fact that lead is the commonest heavy metal in the earth’s crust (13 mg/kg or 13,000 PPB) it seems highly unlikely that any lead intake level would be toxic, especially since mankind has been using lead for dinerware and water pipes for centuries, because of its resistance against corrosion.
        But then, we probably would have been much smarter and woukd have prevented the EPA for failing to implement the CWA, because of using an essential test incorrect and ignoring nutrients in sewage or we also could have dropped the disinfection of treated sewage, as EPA recommended in 1978, as this process is not preventing water-born diseases, is expensive and damaging to the environment, due to the formation of DBP’s, some carcinogenic or endocriene disruptors.
        My question is what are our public health priorities?
        Still having to drink this harmfull crap (presently possible considered at safe levels) from algae invested open waters or closing a public water fountain, where people drink a few ml of water and get less lead than when you lick to point of a lead pencil?

  2. Marc,

    Lead in congress, I will once again re-iterate; silicates, silicates, silicates…

    And, just became aware of your lead involvement at Miami Valley Hospital.
    Please be aware, Miami Valley Hospital suffered a LDB outbreak in 2011, investigated by Tim Keane. Has he filled you in as to the “modular” construction of the ICU tower commissioned in 2011 just before the outbreak and it’s contribution? This is another example of the “dead-leg” scenario, same as NYC/Bronx-2015 and Flint, Mi-2014. The Miami valley occurrence exposes the need to establish effective protocols in the commissioning process; something that is currently lacking. This outbreak could have been avoided by flush, clean, disinfect, passivate, and preserve.

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