More than 8,000 children in Flint, Michigan, have been exposed to water contaminated by lead and other chemicals because of a decision by officials to change the source of the city’s drinking water. Aging pipes leached lead into the city’s tap water, poisoning residents and likely leading to chronic, irreversible health problems for thousands of young children there.
Lead levels in drinking water are a continuing threat, not just in Flint, but in communities across the country. Many U.S. cities rely on water pipes that are more than a century old, on average. Every year, there are some 240,000 water main breaks in America, resulting in a loss of about 7 billion gallons of clean drinking water a day—which represents about 12 percent of treated water. This wastes energy, water, and disrupts businesses and communities. Investment in our nation’s water infrastructure is critical to public health, economy and quality of life. It will create thousands of jobs replacing and upgrading water pipes, treatment plants, storage tanks, and installing more sustainable and resilient water systems. These solutions require long-term commitment at all levels of governance, and real urgency.
The audio of the call releasing this policy is available below.