Adam Walton, 2 in the striped shirt, has high levels of lead in his blood. He lives with his mom, Destiny; dad, John; and brother, Andrew, 1, in Ranger, TX. The water supplying their house tested high for lead. (Photo: Laura Ungar, USA TODAY)
Millions of Americans are facing toxin-laden water risks to their health because of a national crisis in leadership: a lack of enforcement of contamination regulations.
"USA TODAY Network journalists spent 2016 reviewing millions of records from the Environmental Protection Agency and all 50 states, visiting small communities across the country and interviewing more than 120 people stuck using untested or lead-tainted tap water." Among other things, the investigators found that local water utilities are aware of the lead-tainted water in their communities but are unwilling to formulate treatment plans, much less begin any such treatment.
I understand what the right sometimes claims is overreach by the federal government. But let's be clear: There is more and more piling-high evidence that local utilities don't have the resources to keep small communities safe.
“At the end of the day, it creates two universes of people,” said water expert Yanna Lambrinidou, an affiliate faculty member at Virginia Tech. “One is the universe of people who are somewhat protected from lead. ... Then we have those people served by small water systems, who are treated by the regulations as second-class citizens.”