The Rise in Lead poisoning and Toxic waterways.

"It's a good idea to test our water now. Lead is a huge concern but consider all the other toxins now in our waterways."

ZetaTalk: Safe Water
Note: written on Aug 15, 1995

The Earth, in its abundance, currently provides man with what appears to be limitless fresh water. Except where man has defiantly chosen to set up housekeeping in the middle of a desert or ocean, fresh, pure water is not expected to be a problem. It rushes by in streams and rivers, pools in lakes, and if not found on the surface can almost always be found in the underground rivers and lakes. Should one be concerned about the purity of the water on the surface, one could always catch the rain which falls, unsullied, from the sky. Up until recently man's only worry about water was how to transport it and how to avoid it during times of flooding. Since the Industrial Age man has merrily poured poisons into his drinking water, both on the surface and through seepage into the ground water. Bottled water has become more than a fad.

After the cataclysms mankind's problems with his water supply will take a quantum leap. Water, from all sources, may be poisoned, with the old standby, rainwater, failing to provide potable water. During the pole shift volcanoes, old and new, will violently explode. The resulting ash will sift down from the upper atmosphere for decades, poisoning ground water. Humans driven to drink this gritty water will find more than grit between their teeth, they will find their nervous system beginning to fail them, their eye sight fading, and their digestive system intolerant of any food they may find. We are speaking here primarily of lead poisoning, which is not a problem man expects from the water nature provides. Lead settles and over eons settles down out of the way, but after a cataclysm the lead heavy mantle has been spewed out over the landscape, most of this vomit in the form of fine billowing dust.

Will the ground water not be safe? Depends. During the cataclysms the ground is heaved and jerked, and any wells or piping will be shattered. In that the ground water is as likely to carry poisons as the surface, having filtered down from the surface, what looks like pure water from underground may be, again, a slow death. Ground water also is subject to contact with the lead heavy mantle, which most often does not make it all the way to the surface during eruptions. If one cannot trust the usual water supply, what to do? Distillation processes or recycling water known to be pure are two approaches likely to provide a steady supply of water. This may seem tedious to those so used to taking fresh, pure water for granted, but those who prepare for the times ahead will not find themselves suddenly without one of life's necessities.

Man dies without air in minutes, without water in days, and without food over weeks. Bread may be the staff of life, but water is life itself!

Note: below added during the Dec 21, 2002 Live ZetaTalk IRC Session.

Our advise on distilling water to remove heavy metals such as lead presumes that volcanic ash will be falling, be included in the rain or fog, and accumulate on the ground. There are several factors to consider. First, the land may be at a site where little rain falls, outside of the volcanic drift, high so that most heavy ash has dropped before arriving, and have little problem with this. Second, heavy rainfall may outweigh the lead content, wash this way in good runoff, such that there is scarcely any accumulation or it is so diluted as to be negligible. Third, the land may be directly in volcanic ash path, from a volcano that lasts for centuries after the shift, and be unlivable for far longer than the 25 years we have given as a guide. Thus, there is simply no general statements about when ground or rain water will be OK. One must use their judgment about such matter.

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 Zeta Report on USAEBN, February 1, 2016 on YouTubeNemesis, the Sun’s dark binary twin 18.74 Sun-Pluto distances away, per the Zetas, is in the news as a discovered planetary body. But named Planet 9 instead of Nemesis and declared to be 20 Sun-Pluto distances away. The Earth’s dark twin also back in the news, as Earth 2.0. Are we being prepped for the announcement on Nibiru?  What does this have to do with the lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan? Earthquakes and volcanic dust can bring lead into our drinking water, and this will increasingly become a problem. Learn to distill your drinking water, and chelate heavy metals away via diet in Parsley, Celantro, and other vegies.

Situational Preparedness

TOPIC: Lead Poisoning

Ground water and even water from underground sources may contain Lead from volcanic dust after a pole shift. Lead in drinking water accumulates in the human body and causes damaged nerves with consequent inability to coordinate voluntary muscle movements, seizures, and bizarre behavior. Mental retardation in the young and high blood pressure in adults also result. Lead in drinking water is tasteless, but Symptoms of lead poisoning include lethargy, vomiting, abdominal pain, and constipation. Lead Intake can be reduced by Diet and Farming practices. Treatment in the Aftertime is possible. Lead Testing kits are available, and a Troubled Times TEAM has been formed to explore lead testing options. A diet high in Iron and Calcium is the cure, though medicines to purge the system, such as Live Earth, called Chelation, also exist. Epsom Salts also can remove lead from the gut. Distillation of drinking water eliminates Lead, and even filtering with Coffee Grounds is effective. A KDF Filter is inexpensive and effective.

This is an immense problem. In populated areas, sewage water will mix in, or the surface water will be contaminated with sewage simply because doing it in the bushes will be the handy toilet. Numerous human diseases are spread in this way, with cholera and dysentery topping the list, though various virus infections such as hepatitis and polio can likewise be spread via human feces, living outside the body for a time. We have stressed that heavy metals will be found in groundwater due to cracks in the ground where magma has forced up, and due to volcanic ash that has washed down with the rain. Distillation resolves all these pollutants and infectious agents and should absolutely be used.

What was done in the past? There are those in the sinking zones in Indonesia who are cooking today with muddy water, as their fresh water sources have become contaminated. This is not an issue that is merely historical, something that was done in the past, as history will repeat itself. Humans survived, during past pole shifts, primarily in regions where volcanic ash was not heavy, or where fresh water emerged from aquifers where heavy metals had settled out over the econs and infectious agents died from lack of nutrition in the aquifer. It was luck, and location, location, location that allowed those humans to survive. (Zeta question re: Lead poisoning)

This has been much discussed on the Troubled Times pages as we early on warned about the danger of lead in drinking water after the shift. This will occur not just from surface water, polluted from volcanic dust, but also well water coming in contact with magma that has risen up close to the surface. It takes many decades for lead to leach out and return to a depth where it will not create problems. In the meantime, man is best advised to distill his water. Fish will not pick up lead, though it will pick up Mercury. Many plants and animals filter out lead, some better than others, so this could be researched. Should one become sick, in spite of precautions, or because they were not informed ahead of time, eating a diet high in Vitamin C and iron will help the body eliminate lead. Research these methods, as they are means even a common man without medical attention can rely upon, after the shift.

On the ZetaTalk  (Troubled Times) website there are a variety of icons to familiarize yourself with. There you'll find the link to "SAFE WATER"

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Click on the icons above to go to your area of interest.

TOPIC: Safe Water

Surface water should be Treated by boiling it to rid it of germs and parasites and some Pollutants. Waterborne Diseases can be deadly, and Emergencies can occur suddenly. A Filter such as Katadyn, AquaPure, PUR Plus, Brittas, Amway, or PentaPure, or a Pre-Filter or Lead Trap can help, along with a Systematic approach to the problem. Reportedly, a Home-Made filter can be constructed. Ultraviolet as in Sunlight, Ozone, Oxygen, and Electricity also kills germs. An battery operated UV light such as SteriPEN can be constructed. Chlorine has its pros and Cons, but Standing removes it. Wine Treated water from Wooden Barrels kills bacteria. Containers for Storing Water, perhaps in Bulk, can leach. Hard Plastic and metal are best, though Soft Plastic reportedly works, but Copper can cause problems. Reverse Osmosis purifies water. Drinking Salt Water such as seawater can be extremely dangerous, as are other Bad Options, but Urine is potable. A Water Cone uses the heat from the Sun to distill water. Water polluted with Volcanic Ash or Forest Fire ash or DOE Dump Sites can be dangerous, so Distilling drinking water is advised. Distillation also removes Arsenic and Lead from ground water. A Distillation Process is a Simple Process involving Making Steam. Methods include an Open Teapot and Close Teapot and Coil Exchange and Full Exchange to reduce HydroCarbon. Another method is a Pressure Cooker with Parts List and Bucket Collection, with Steam Cautions. Non-steam methods like an Umbrella Tent or Cotton Cloth are also effective. Best method is the Stacked Pot with Two Pots and a Pie Pan with optional Small Parts and Simple Assembly. This method can be purchased from Sustainable Village, already assembled. Water Quality can also be tested. All Myths debunked, distillation can have a Vacuum Assist and use multiple Heat Sources. A Solar Distiller uses heat from sunlight. One can allow low Boiling Point pollutants such as Hydrocarbons to escape. Commercial Distillers are available, including Separators. Even the Ancients had distillers, and Seawater can be distilled using only the heat of the day. Energy efficient methods for purifying Brackish Water are available, with detailed instruction on a PDF File. A misc.survivalism ftp covers the issues but presumes a short term crisis.

Here you can find a Stainless Steel Water Distiller Design on this blog:

What Flint Activists Are Doing To Fight Lead Poisoning In Their Water

Ever since the Flint water crisis began, lead poisoning has been a top news story in national media. Most know the story of Flint’s water crisis by now. Flint was assigned an emergency manager that eliminated most democratic checks and balances in the city, including the power of the city council and mayor. The emergency manager then decided to change Flint’s water source. Changing the water source caused an erosion in the water pipes throughout the city, which in turn, caused the lead in the pipes to contaminate the water. Flint residents have been unable to drink water out of their pipes for the past two years.

Lead poisoning in Flint certainly hits young people very hard, but the entire population was poisoned.

Nearly two years after Flint starting getting its water from the Flint River, which corroded pipes and caused lead to leach into the drinking water, nobody knows exactly when the problem will be fixed.

How might Flint’s water contamination affect garden soils? Part 2

With the news of lead contamination in the City of Flint’s water supply, people who farm and garden in the city are questioning the safety of growing in soil that has been irrigated with contaminated water.

Zetas say: Plants actually filter heavy metals.

B.C. NDP says Liberals waiting for more dead fish to test lead levels at schools

By: Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
Posted: 02/22/2016 6:12 PM | Last Modified: 02/22/2016 7:44 PM

VICTORIA - Dead salmon eggs in a northern British Columbia classroom should raise concerns about the safety of drinking water in schools, but the government appears to be downplaying the fears of parents, says Opposition New Democrat Leader John Horgan.

Elevated levels of lead above Health Canada guidelines have been found in school water systems in Kitimat and Prince Rupert, but Health Minister Terry Lake is telling parents not to worry, Horgan said Monday.

"If I were a parent, I'd be extremely concerned," he said. "We need to be looking at a whole host of schools in the northwest, where there's some of the oldest buildings in the province. If we have troubles in one, it's quite likely we're going to have troubles in all of them."

Parents of students at four Prince Rupert schools received letters from the school district last week telling them elevated levels of lead above Health Canada guidelines were found in the school water. The school district responded by installing filters on water fountains and flushing the water system each morning.

North Coast New Democrat Jennifer Rice, who represents Prince Rupert and surrounding communities, said she's received calls from parents who fear their children are at risk of lead poisoning from drinking water at school.

She said she's also heard from pregnant women with concerns about drinking water in their homes.

Horgan and Rice said the health of school drinking water is not a new issue in the northwest.

Four years ago in nearby Kitimat, a concerned teacher prompted water testing at local schools after a classroom experiment to raise salmon eggs in an aquarium ended in repeated failures. The tests found the eggs were killed by elevated levels of copper and lead in the water.

A district-wide investigation then found varied levels of lead and copper in drinking water in other Kitimat schools, but the water in Prince Rupert schools was not tested until late last year.

"The government shouldn't be turning a blind eye and waiting for fish to die in a science experiment," Horgan said.

Lake said he is meeting with Education Minister Mike Bernier to examine the water quality issue.

Blood tests taken from children in the north between 2009 and 2011 indicated no series health issues connected to the water issue, said Lake

Vindicator tests residential water at 36 Warren homes, revealing one at unsafe level, reassuring others - See more at:

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Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on March 2, 2016 at 6:42am

Bainbridge (WA) School District issues alert about lead levels in Ordway water

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — Bainbridge Island School District is using bottled water at Ordway Elementary School after the district found elevated levels of lead in the water.

The district this year began voluntary water testing that will be required of all schools in 2017, under state law. All elementary schools, Sakai Intermediate School, Commodore Options and two buildings at Bainbridge High School have been tested. Still to be tested are Woodward Middle School, the rest of the high school and district support facilities.

The district Monday notified Ordway parents it had implemented the bottled water precaution after recent test results showed elevated lead levels in roughly 34 percent of fixtures ranging from 20 parts per billion to 384 parts per billion. The single highest reading was taken from a faucet in an art room sink, according to the state Department of Health.

Under state regulations, a level of 20 parts per billion or higher requires schools to do further testing and take appropriate action.

The lead levels in Ordway water samples are nowhere near the levels of lead in the Flint, Michigan, supply where water quality poses serious health risks, said Mike Means, acting director of the Health Department's Office of Drinking Water.

The Bainbridge district is working with the Health Department, Kitsap Public Health District and the city, which supplies water to schools, to assess the risk to students and correct the problem. The city's water supply is not suspected at this time as a source of the contamination, according to Keith Grellner, the health district's director of environmental health.

The school district has taken the fixtures in question offline and will replace them with lead-free fixtures. Until then bottled water will be used at Ordway for drinking and cooking. Faucets can be used for hand-washing and other tasks but will have "don't drink the water" signs.

"The health implications of the water test results are unclear at this point in our investigation," Superintendent Faith Chapel said in a letter to Ordway parents. "Additional sampling and analysis is needed and is underway."

The district and health officials encourage parents concerned about their child's exposure to lead to have them evaluated by a primary care provider.

"I am extremely concerned," said Livia Hernandez, an Ordway parent who has chosen to have her 6-year-old daughter's blood tested for lead levels.

"Lead is a toxic chemical, and it's toxic at any level," said Lauren Jenks, director of the office of Environmental and Public Health Sciences for state Department of Health.

Health officials say extra concern is warranted for children younger than 6 because their developing brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead, which can include developmental and behavior problems.

That said, eliminating all sources of lead exposure is virtually impossible, Jenks said. The most common sources are dust from lead-based paint in homes built before 1978, soil and workplaces or hobbies that use lead, according to health officials.

Symptoms of lead poisoning can include abdominal cramps, headaches, memory loss, numbness and tingling of hands and feet, anemia and high blood pressure. Typically symptoms are absent except with high concentrations of lead in the blood.

Factors to consider in deciding whether to have a child tested include how much time the child spends at school, the amount of water consumed from fixtures and the potential of exposure from other sources, according to Health Department.

Jenks praised the district for being testing its water before the new regulation takes effect. Districts are not now required to test their schools' water, except schools on wells, which are treated as a small public water system.

The district began its water testing over winter break and found elevated lead levels in 13 fixtures including nine at Ordway, two at Commodore and two in the high school 100 and 600 buildings.

Testing is done after the water has sat undisturbed for at least six hours, the district said in its letter to parents.

The district flushed systems and replaced some fixtures. When retesting showed one fixture at Ordway still at elevated levels, the district retested all fixtures in the school. Testing results from a regional lab were delivered to the district Monday, leading to the advisory.

The district is especially concerned about inconsistent test results, since 21 of the 23 Ordway fixtures that recently showed elevated levels had passed the initial screening, Chapel said.

The district will hire a company with expertise in water-quality testing and mechanical systems to conduct additional tests and recommend mitigation measures.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on March 1, 2016 at 5:13pm

Oklahoma ZIP codes listed as high risk for lead poisoning

UPDATED 9:30 AM CST Mar 01, 2016

ZIP CODES: 73106, 73107, 73108, 73109, 73111, 73117, 73119, 73129, 73521, 73701 (Enid), 74104, 74106, 74110, 74115, 74127, 74354, 74401, 74403, 74447, 74631 (Blackwell) , 74848

Oklahoma Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

OKLAHOMA CITY —Out of the 1,677 public water supplies under the purview of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, 19 have had recent elevated detections of lead, state officials said.

“Any time we have detection levels we do send our engineers out to work with the city to address any potential concerns before they do become exceedances of that safe drinking water standard,” said Shellie Chard-McClary, Water Quality Division director.

In other words, lead is sometimes found in Oklahoma drinking water.

Mostly it’s isolated cases, Chard-McClary said, versus a system-wide contamination seen in places like Flint, Michigan, where water is undrinkable and children have been poisoned by the lead.

“I would like to think it would never happen here,” she told KOCO 5 News.


Oklahoma has a few things going in its favor, that would prevent such a wide-scale water crisis, she said.

One is the age of the state.

“We’re a relatively young state.” Chard-McClary said, “We have a lot more clay pipe, much more plastic PVC pipe, we even have some concrete pipe.”

Another is the different safeguards in place, the Department of Environmental Quality said.

The main source of lead in drinking water comes from untreated water corroding older lead pipes, allowing the neurotoxin to leach into the drinking water.

In Oklahoma, checking water for things like pH balance allows local and state scientists to know how corrosive the water is, something that somehow wasn’t properly monitored – or responded to – in Flint.

“In Flint there were a lot of kind of perfect storm scenarios that happened,” Chard-McClary said.


Still, Oklahoma has issues with lead poisoning, particularly in children – who are at an increased risk.

“We know that it can affect all different parts of your body, particularly the brain and different organs,” said Susan Quigley, the program manager for the Oklahoma Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, “Children are more susceptible because they’re developing and growing.”

In Flint, daily exposure came from the drinking water.

Here in Oklahoma, historically, that hasn’t been the case.

“The environmental investigations we’ve done, we have never found water to be the source. We’ve always found another source,” Quigley said, “Usually it’s lead-based paint.”

The Oklahoma Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program created a list of high-risk target ZIP codes, areas where there have been previous cases, neighborhoods have older homes, and have a demographic make-up more statistically more like to have lead poisoning.

“All of this was narrowed down from all of the ZIP-codes to come up with the 21 that fit all that criteria.” Quigley said.

Almost half of the ZIP codes on the high-risk list are located in the metro.

Quigley warned not just to focus on whether your home was located in the high-risk area, rather look at the particulars of your house, walls, and plumbing.


“There are no symptoms until a level gets very, very high,” Quigley told KOCO 5 News. “So a child who has lead poisoning or an elevated lead level is going to look just like any other child.”

What happens beneath the surface in a child with elevated levels, could lead to a lifetime of developmental disabilities.

“We don’t know if a child has lead unless the child is tested,” Quigley said.

40,000 kids in Oklahoma are tested each year for elevated lead levels. The Oklahoma Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program has advocated for testing for every child, at 12-months, 24-months, and then anytime there is possible environmental exposure.

Beyond testing, parents can also install filters – either under the sink or one for a home’s entire water supply – that can filter out lead, even for houses that may be technically below the federal level for lead.

“There is no safe level,” Quigley said. “We know that damage occurs at any level that’s in the blood.”

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on February 28, 2016 at 6:46pm

Local, state leaders work to combat risk for lead poisoning in Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – We told you here on News 4 the Erie County Health Department has come up with nine zip codes in Buffalo where there is heightened risk for kids getting lead poisoning. Lead has been an issue in Western New York since the 1980’s when many homes had lead paint.

Much of Western New York has been active in helping those affected by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. But now, we have an issue of our own.

Buffalo Common Council President and Pastor Darius Pridgen said, “When we learned that we have high levels of lead here in children, and some estimate it as double the amount of what Flint has,I thoght it was very important to pay the same amount of attention here in Buffalo as we did in Flint.”
This can happen easily if your kids chew on paint chips or breathe in dust residue. Now Common Council is buying instant lead tests in bulk, and giving them out at the True Bethel Baptist Church. They’re free to those who feel their family may be in immediate danger of lead poisoning.

Pridgen said, “I don’t care if they belong to my church or live in my district, this is a Buffalo concern.”
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is giving a $350 thousand dollar grant to Buffalo to help stop this issue from getting worse. It’s called the Buffalo Green and Healthy Homes initiative.

He said, “Because of the age of the housing stock,many homes predate the banning of lead paint. And as we’ve seen again with the recent contamination of the water supply in Flint, Michigan, investments must be made.”
The money comes from settlement funds from lead contamination lawsuits. Pridgen said this exposure to lead poisoning is something he wants to stop now:

He said, “One thing I will never be guilty of, is knowing that we have a problem and not educating people how to stay safe.”

Since 2008, Erie County has inspected nearly 13,000 homes and has taken 1,400 landlords to housing court to get them to make repairs.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on February 28, 2016 at 6:42pm

Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki Raises Alarm Over Lead Poisoning

Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki Raises Alarm Over Lead Poisoning

Published on Feb 26, 2016

Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki Raises Alarm Over Lead Poisoning in Niger State. Senate President Bukola Saraki on Thursday deplored the outbreak of lead poisoning in Rafin Local Government Area of Niger State as a result of small scale mining of gold in the area. Saraki who stated this when representatives of Doctors Without Borders led by Dr. Simba Tirima paid him a courtesy visit, said it was unfortunate that the incident was occurring at the time the nation was yet to recover from the ravages of a similar incident in Bagega, Zamfara State where over 400 children were affected in 2013.

Comment by M. Difato on February 26, 2016 at 4:40pm

Binghamton schools: More than 30 water sources shut down for lead levels

Feb 25, 2016Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton)

More than 30 water sources in Binghamton City schools have been shut down after elevated lead levels were found.

That includes two drinking water sources that have been turned off.

According to a letter sent to parents and guardians of students in the district, the district began looking into the water after elevated lead levels were found in two elementary schools (Caroline Elementary and Enfield Elementary) in the Ithaca City School District.

Testing was  in June 2013 in BInghamton schools. In February 2016, district officials reviewed those results and found seven drinking sources with elevated lead levels.

Those sources were tested again and two drinking water sources have been turned off, high school concession stand and building D in the high school (located in storage).

In a retesting of elevated levels from 2013, of 51 classroom sinks, lab sinks, etc., 30 came back with above acceptable levels. None of those are sources of drinking water, according to the district.

Binghamton City School District schools receive their water from the city of Binghamton, a public water source. Because of that, there is no federal or state testing requirement.

In the district's letter, Superintendent Marion Martinez said she has made the following recommendations to the Board of Education:

- Identify and test all drinking sources including the field houses, Alumni Stadium (East) and West Middle School Fieldhouse.

- Label all non-drinking sources as a precaution because they will not be sampling points in the future.

- Re-test all drinking sources a minimum of every three years and after equipment or fixtures are replaced.

- Replace water filters per manufacturer’s recommendations.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on February 23, 2016 at 4:46pm

In 2015, there were more than 3,000 new cases of children under six with elevated levels of toxic lead reported in New Jersey.


TRENTON – Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee Chair Joseph F. Vitale announced today that the committee will hold a hearing on Monday to examine the lead crisis affecting thousands of children in communities across New Jersey.

“While the overall number of children in New Jersey registering with elevated blood lead levels has declined over the years, the lead crisis plaguing our state is far from over. Every child that is exposed to toxic levels of lead matters and needs our help, and it is our collective responsibility to protect our state’s youngest residents,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “Holding this hearing will allow us to learn more about the troubling facts reported recently and will provide us with a better sense of direction in terms of ongoing and future efforts to end the lead crisis in New Jersey.”

In 2015, there were more than 3,000 new cases of children under six with elevated levels of toxic lead reported in New Jersey. Since 2000, about 225,000 children in the state have been afflicted by lead, according to advocates. A higher percentage of children were found with elevated blood lead levels in Irvington, East Orange, Trenton, Newark, Paterson, Plainfield, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Atlantic City, East Brunswick and Passaic, and in Salem and Cumberland counties. The proportion of children in these communities is higher than those affected by lead in Flint, Michigan.

Lead poisoning can cause irreversible brain and nervous system damage and a lifetime of behavioral and learning problems, all with no obvious symptoms and all of which are preventable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no safe blood lead level in children has been identified.  The reference level, or “blood lead level of concern,” at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated is 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL). In New Jersey, blood levels of 10 µg/dL or greater may lead to case management by the local health department.

Senator Ronald Rice, D-Essex, has led the effort to address the lead crisis in New Jersey. He has sponsored legislation that would provide $10 million in funding in the current FY16 budget to the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund, which provides funding to address lead-based paint in New Jersey in a comprehensive and focused manner. The City of Newark far exceeds every other large municipality statewide in the number of children younger than six years with elevated blood lead levels.

“The permanent damage caused by lead poisoning on the body and brain is preventable, yet thousands of children are registering elevated blood lead levels across New Jersey every year. The problem especially affects children in the poorest areas, members of racial-ethnic minority groups, and those living in older rental properties,” said Senator Rice. “This is an urgent matter that requires our immediate attention and action.”

Invited guests include members of the health care community, anti-poverty advocates, and other leaders in the effort to protect New Jersey’s children from the dangers of lead exposure.

The Committee will begin consideration of bills on its agenda on Monday, February 29, 2016, at 1:00 PM in Committee Room 1, 1st Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, New Jersey, followed by the hearing.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on February 23, 2016 at 4:19pm

Would you drink this? When brown tap water is deemed legal and safe

ST. JOSEPH, Louisiana – Garrett Boyte’s first clue that something was wrong came the day he moved to town.

He showed up for his new job at Christ Episcopal Church in St. Joseph, Louisiana, and saw a note on the refrigerator door: “Don’t drink the water.”

Then came his welcome gift: A case of bottled water.

“I said, ‘Well surely it can’t be that bad,'” said Boyte, now 23. “I turned (the water) on, and it came out yellow.”

Not much has changed in the 20 months since. About once a week — Boyte never knows when — his shower spews putrid yellow or brown water, he said.

Across town, the water in Elvadus Fields’ house is so dirty he won’t wash his clothes in it. Every week, he and his wife drive 45 miles to a laundromat, where they know the water won’t stain their clothes brown.

“The water is just terrible and unbearable,” Fields said. “I can’t quite understand why we have such trouble here in St. Joe.”

Concerns about water safety escalated nationwide after reports of lead poisoning from the tap water in Flint, Michigan. Pediatricians say they believe children with elevated levels of lead in Flint will suffer lifelong consequences.

In Flint, a temporary switch of the water source coincided with the high lead levels. Aging water pipes played a role in the lead crisis, as did the failure to add an anti-corrosive agent to protect the water.

St. Joseph’s situation is different: Its water hasn’t tested positive for high amounts of lead. Instead, it has tested positive for high levels of iron, which is not considered to be a serious health risk.

But the problem in the northeastern Louisiana town represents a broader issue in cities across the country: water that is legally safe but often looks disgusting.

Anxiety permeates the town of 1,100. Like Flint, the water pipes are old — in St. Joseph’s case, about 90 years old. Like Flint, most of the town is black, and at least one-third of the town falls under the poverty line. And like in Flint, residents say they’re frustrated with the pace of government action in fixing the water.

Some St. Joseph residents say they’ve seen brown or yellow water sporadically for a few years; others say the problem goes back 10 years.

Louisiana has committed millions of dollars to fix the problem in St. Joseph — but the town can’t access the money due to missing paperwork, state officials say.

So the residents wait and worry, wondering what their water will do to them.

State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry said tests have not found dangerous amounts of chemicals in St. Joseph’s water.

It’s safe, he says — but he wouldn’t drink it.

Bathing in brown water

In St. Joseph, taking a shower could leave you dirtier than not showering at all.

“Last week, I was taking a shower, and in the middle of my shower, the water turned brown,” Boyte said. “And I had shampoo in my hair, so I had to finish.”

A few hours later, he noticed rust-colored streaks covering his towel.

“And I’m thinking, this is what I bathe in,” he said. “This is the life that we have here.”

High school teacher Glynis Watson Cephus adds bleach to her bath water — even though she’s not sure whether that’s safe.

“You’re taking a chance bathing in it and washing your clothes,” she said of the tap water. “I don’t wash my white clothes in it.”

Cephus, 52, has lived in St. Joseph her entire life. “It’s quiet. It’s a good place to raise children,” she said. But she won’t let her 5-year-old granddaughter taste the tap water.

The water runs fairly clear several days a week. Yet even on good days, Boyte said, “it smells like metal most of the time.”

No one has reported getting sick directly from the water — but then again, no one interviewed in St. Joseph said they dared to drink the tap water or to brush their teeth with it.

Fields, 79, said he can’t stand to bathe more than three times a week.

“That’s not healthy for me. I’m not accustomed to that,” he said. “But that’s the best I can do.”

Fields retired after 32 years as a county agricultural agent. He now spends his days ranching and tending to his show cow, Snow.

Snow is the only one in the family drinking water from the tap.

So what’s in the water?

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group’s last report on national drinking water revealed 316 contaminants in water supplied to 256 million Americans in 45 states. The group last updated the database in 2009; it is now updating the database.

But many contaminants don’t pose serious health risks.

In St. Joseph, the state health officer said, the cause of brown water is likely iron — a chemical element with no federal limits.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency divides water contaminants into two categories:

1) Those that pose a health risk and therefore have legal limits. Arsenic, uranium and lead — the contaminant causing problems in Flint — fall under this category.

2) Those that don’t pose a serious health risk but can make drinking water look, smell, or taste bad. This category, which includes iron, manganese and sulfate, does not have legal limits.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals said tests of St. Joseph’s water in 2013 found iron levels of 9.74 milligrams per liter — 32 times higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends.

The average lethal dose of iron is 200-250 mg per kilogram of body weight, the World Health Organization said. In other words, a 150-pound (68-kilogram) person’s body would have to have at least 13,600 milligrams of iron — the amount found in about 1,400 liters of St. Joseph’s tap water — to have grave consequences.

As for bathing, those sensitive to iron could get a rash, the state health official said.

“But it’s not the same thing as if there was bacteria, and they had an open wound,” Guidry said. “The iron probably wouldn’t cause a whole lot of problems.”

Still, the state health officer said he wouldn’t pour himself a glass in St. Joseph.

“I wouldn’t choose to drink it just because I know that it’s not aesthetically pleasing,” Guidry said. “If you were to get in a bathtub with brown water, you’re not going to feel like you’re clean, because the water doesn’t look clean.”

Who’s to blame?

To solve the water problem, St. Joseph needs $8 million to replace old pipes and pumps, Louisiana’s health department said, citing the town’s engineering firm. State legislators committed $6 million last year to do just that, said Sharon Gilmore, legislative assistant to state Sen. Francis Thompson.

But to get state money, cities must be up to date on their financial audits, Gilmore said. And St. Joseph Mayor Edward Brown hasn’t turned in his audit for the 2015 fiscal year that ended last June 30.

Cities and towns have six months after the end of their fiscal years to turn in their paperwork, said Louisiana legislative auditor Daryl Purpera. Certified public accountants usually conduct the audits, which examine a city’s revenue, expenses and compliance with other laws.

Purpera said the mayor has a history of turning in audits late, and is now considered noncompliant.

Mayor Brown did not return several calls from CNN over several days this month. When approached at his office in St. Joseph, the mayor declined CNN’s request for an interview about the town’s audits.

When asked to comment on his residents’ concerns about the water, the mayor said, “We are aware of the problem, and we are working to solve it.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards said he has directed the state health department to look into the water problem in St. Joseph.

“The health and safety of the residents of St. Joseph is of utmost concern,” Edwards said in a statement. “While the current situation does not pose an immediate health risk to the residents, it does require our attention after years of neglect.”

Purpera, the state legislative auditor, said the neglect in St. Joseph involves much more than just a late audit. He said while the mayor’s paperwork is 1 1/2 months late, the problems with St. Joseph’s water system go back years.

“The mayor needs to do whatever he needs to do to fix the water system. That’s not just getting the audit done; that’s getting contractors lined up,” Purpera said.

“The audit is about accountability. … He’s basically not providing transparency and accountability.”

Once the mayor submits his audit and has contractors selected, Purpera said, the town will immediately be able to access $1.2 million of the $6 million in state funding. The rest would be awarded as it becomes available.

As for the final $2 million needed to overhaul St. Joseph’s infrastructure, the town could apply for grants or loans, state health department spokeswoman Samantha Faulkner said.

St. Joseph resident Carmen Bates said she doesn’t want to blame anyone — she just wants her water clear.

“Everybody’s trying to do something, and nobody’s accomplishing anything,” Bates said.

Where does the iron come from?

Most of St. Joseph’s iron comes from its water source — a Mississippi River aquifer, Faulkner said. Corroded iron pipes also contribute to high levels of iron.

When state engineers inspected St. Joseph’s water system in December, they found four major deficiencies — all related to infrastructure, Faulkner said. She said the mayor is ultimately responsible for the town’s water system.

St. Joseph residents have lived through at least 20 boil-water advisories in the last four years. And they’re frustrated.

The state says the number of boil-water advisories in St. Joseph is not uncommon.

“We’ve had 37 systems that have had that or more (boil advisories) over the past four years, so it’s not more so than other systems,” Guidry said.

About 39% of local water systems in Louisiana have high iron levels, Faulkner said. And half of those places don’t have iron removal or separation treatment.

The main problem: cost.

“A lot of these treatments can be cost-prohibitive, especially if they’re not for health reasons, they’re for aesthetic reasons,” Faulkner said.

She said St. Joseph’s water is one of the more extreme cases of high iron levels in the state.

It’s not just St. Joseph and Flint

Dirty water doesn’t only strike small towns like St. Joseph.

Many cities have World War I-era plumbing and treatment facilities that might not be able to handle contaminants produced in densely populated areas, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The American Society of Civil Engineers said the country has an estimated 240,000 water main breaks each year.

Of course, replacing old infrastructure across the country would come at a massive cost. American cities and towns faced an annual shortfall of at least $11 billion to replace infrastructure to meet federal regulations, the Natural Resources Defense Council said, citing a 2009 study from the civil engineers organization.

“It’s an ongoing race that cities all over the country are constantly needing to dig up and replace and fix that infrastructure,” said Josh Mogerman, spokesman for the NRDC.

The nonprofit American Water Works Association says it would cost $1 trillion over 25 years to restore and expand aging water systems across the country to meet the needs of a growing population.

“Much of our drinking water infrastructure … is nearing the end of its useful life and approaching the age at which it needs to be replaced,” the association said in a report.

But cities can only do so much, Mogerman said. Most cities can only replace the pipes they own.

Any troublesome pipes between, say, the street and a kitchen faucet would belong to the homeowner. And if lines are lead, there’s not much the city can do about it.

The Natural Resources Defense Council said relatively few cities violate national standards for drinking water, but this is more a result of weak standards than it is of low contaminant levels.

The EPA regularly examines the list of nonregulated contaminants and evaluates whether certain contaminants need to be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA spokeswoman Monica Lee said.

The cost of dirty water

For a town with about 33% of its residents under the poverty line, paying for bottled water means pouring money down the drain.

Cephus said she spends between $100-$125 a month on bottled water for her family. That’s on top of her monthly water bill of about $50.

“That doesn’t seem fair to me … that people are paying for water that they can only use to flush the toilet,” Boyte said.

When the water looks especially filthy, Boyte drives 1 1/2 hours to his parents’ or grandparents’ home to shower or do laundry.

In his own pristine white, antebellum house, he keeps bottles filled with murky brown water from the faucet. Silt and sediment has settled at the bottom of two bottles.

“You look at that, and you think, ‘Wow, gosh, you know, what would that do to my kidney or my liver?'” he said. “The body can’t filter that kind of stuff out.”

Fields said he would love to leave St. Joseph — but can’t.

“If I was financially able, I would move from here,” the retiree said. “I’m just not financially able to buy another house at this (stage) in our lives.”

At the town’s lone grocery store, Mac’s Fresh Market, shoppers chat about high school basketball as they push carts filled with bottled water. Produce manager Reginald Gray said he won’t touch the tap water. He buys bottled water from the store to bathe his 5-month-old son.

So what will happen when his son gets old enough to shower on his own?

“Hopefully, I’m gone by that time,” he said. “Or they at least fix the water.”

In the meantime, Boyte said, St. Joseph will continue to lag behind much of the country.

“The fact that in 2016, we’re allowing this to happen, where we have Third World communities in the United States that have to deal with poor water quality, to me is unreal.”

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