COVID-19 Exposes America's Lead Contamination Problem?
Water contamination has been a problem in the United States for many years. Especially when it comes to the worst pollutant of all – lead.
Nearly 30 million Americans were drinking water from community water systems that violated the federal drinking water law. That was between January 2015 and March 2018. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
In addition, 5.5 million people received drinking water from systems with lead levels exceeding the EPA's lead action level.
Prior to 2015, nearly 45 million Americans accessed water that violated health standards. That's according to a study by the National Academy of Sciences.
And Then Came COVID-19
That was all before COVID-19 began wreaking havoc globally. The pandemic has exposed just how big this water contamination problem is.
It's essential to have clean water for drinking. Plus bathing and washing. But the virus has kept people indoors, where many don't have clean water.
The virus has also resulted in many stores restricting the amount of bottled water people can get. Those amounts are usually far below what a family needs. And that's assuming the stores have bottled water on their shelves...
The amount for bottled water has gone up. As have water utility expenses. This comes at a time when many have lost jobs due to the virus.
Battling coronavirus has also been hard for municipalities. Budgets for replacing lead water pipes leading to homes have been slashed. This puts people's health at risk.
Deadly and Debilitating
Lead is an especially frightening toxin to find in water. Mainly because of what it does to children and pregnant women.
Lead poisoning can kill. At the very least it can produce learning disabilities in children. As well as shorter attention spans and antisocial behavior. Even slowed growth and hearing problems.
When lead is in a water system, it can rob that community of economic potential. And increase the need for social and educational services. It can severely impact the ability of a community to grow.
The EPA establishes regulations regarding water safety. Including limits on contaminants in drinking water. But there is no national standard insisting local governments follow those guidelines.
Aging Pipes Often the Culprit
Often the biggest problem with lead in tap water is not at the purifying plants. Generally, they do a good job of filtering water of contaminants.
It's the journey from the plants to homes where the carnage occurs. Corroded lead pipes leach lead into water. And that lead comes out of taps in homes.
This is especially true in the eastern half of the U.S. The average pipe age is 50 years there. Some networks have subsystems more than 100 years old.
A report out of the University of Iowa declared this. It was from their Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. "Our aging water infrastructure, particularly lead pipes, solder and faucets, represents a community health hazard of enduring significance."
During this pandemic, people who can't trust the water coming out of their taps have a Catch-22 situation.
Marc Edwards is a Virginia Tech University civil engineer. He brought national attention to the Flint, Michigan water crisis several years ago. Here's what he says.
"If they don't engage in rigorous hygiene, they're endangering themselves to coronavirus. If they do, they're fearful of the water."
Boiling water can get rid of some contaminants. But not lead and other heavy metals.
Are We Too Far Gone?
This seems like an unsolvable issue. At one time, the federal government paid for most of America's drinking water. As well as wastewater infrastructure.
But now the feds' contribution is less than 10 percent. Local communities and states with funding problems can't make up the difference.
An estimated $743 billion over 20 years is needed to resolve this issue. This could go higher, according to the American Water Works Association. They estimate there are 6 million lead service lines in the U.S.
Utility numbers are rising. Rates for water and sewage have climbed. If residents can't afford their bills, their water might get cut off.
Is Your Tap Water Safe?
You may not live in an area with a highly-publicized water contamination problem. But it could happen any time.
In fact, the New York Times wrote a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. They found that U.S. residents have a 1-in-4 possibility of having tap water that is either unsafe to drink or has not been monitored for contaminants.
Having access to clean water is always essential. But it's even more crucial during a public health crisis where hydration and hygiene are essential to staying healthy.
That's why we recommend the Patriot Pure Pitcher from Patriot Health Alliance. This revolutionary water filtration pitcher removes up to 99.99% of most toxins from your tap water. Including lead, bacteria, and much more.
It gives you all the convenience of a water pitcher that fits directly in your fridge. Yet it can filter out truly scary stuff that other pitcher brands fall short on removing