Biden administration tackles lead in drinking water


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By Robert Preidt and Robin Foster
Health Day reporter

FRIDAY, December 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) – In an effort to further reduce lead levels in drinking water, the Biden administration on Thursday announced $ 2.9 billion in funds for the infrastructure bill for the removal tighter lead pipes and lead limits.

The new, more stringent limits imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are expected to be finalized by 2024 and would require the replacement of lead drinking water pipes as quickly as possible, the White House said in a statement announcing the new. plan. .

“Over the past year, I have met and heard from communities in Chicago, Flint, Jackson and many other areas affected by lead in drinking water,” EPA Administrator Michael said. Regan, in an agency statement. “These conversations highlighted the need to proactively remove lead service lines, especially in low income communities. The science on lead is established – there is no safe level of exposure and there is no safe level of exposure. it’s time to remove this risk to support thriving people and vibrant communities. “

In remarks made Thursday at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, DC, Vice President Kamala Harris acknowledged the goal was ambitious.

“The challenge we face is, without a doubt, great. Lead is built into our cities. It is deposited under our roads and it is installed in our homes,” said Harris.

Conservationists have had mixed reactions to the 10-year plan.

“The top priority must be to demand the removal of all lead pipes within a decade and to set a strict standard at the tap, which is the only way to prevent another generation of children from drinking the water. through what is essentially a straw of lead, “Erik Olson, senior strategic health director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told Associated press. “Good intentions will not be enough to get the job done.”

John Rumpler, senior counsel at Environment America, told the PAthat the plans are “overdue and constitute an essential step towards securing drinking water”. He also said the EPA should set a 10-year deadline to replace major service lines, as New Jersey did in July.

The Trump-era rule was that public water systems should replace 3% of their lead service lines each year if lead levels exceed 15 parts per billion. This rate is lower than the previous requirement of 7%, but Trump administration officials said at the time that the rule closed loopholes that allowed water systems to avoid pulling pipes and would make the faster replacement process.

The federal government estimates that up to 10 million homes across the country are supplied with water through lead service lines, which connect buildings to the main. Lead from pipes can enter water.

Ingestion of lead can cause serious developmental and neurological problems, especially in children, PA reported.

More information

Visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency to learn more about lead in drinking water.

THE SOURCE: Associated press

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