Lead in D.C.'s water? Who's watching out for our children?

As a parent of young children in the District, I was mortified to read in the Post this week that there's still potentially dangerous levels of lead in our water!  ("Congressional panel finds possible lead risk in some D.C. children's water.")

Here’s the information I found about children and lead on the on the EPA's website.

Lead is more dangerous to children because:

  • Babies and young children often put their hands and other objects in their mouths. These objects can have lead dust on them.
  • Children's growing bodies absorb more lead.
  • Children's brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.

If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • Behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity
  • Slowed growth
  • Hearing problems
  • Headaches

Given what we know about the impact of lead you young children should we even consider compromising the safety of lead in our water? Is it even a question?

And yet, I was shocked to find that the rates of testing children under 6 annually for lead poisoning actually decreased between 2004 and 2006, while rates of lead found in children actually increased from 2005 to 2006. (See the data from the Centers for Disease Control.)


What’s wrong with this picture? Why aren’t we taking the possibility of lead in our water more seriously?