Millions of Americans Drink Bad Water: Report

Crisis in Flint, Michigan, could spread to other cities
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2016 7:00 PM CST
In this photo taken, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, a jug of water labeled "Detroit Water" sits among other containers collected in Flint, Mich., in the Fluvial Processes, Pipeline Corrosion lab on the Virginia...   (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)
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(Newser) – Flint, Michigan, isn't the only city in a water crisis—but residents of other US cities just don't know they're in a water crisis, the Guardian reports. According to watchdogs and government documents, water boards in several cities have designed questionable tests that violate EPA regulations and tend to give positive results about lead and copper in drinking water. "Every major US city east of the Mississippi" is at risk, says an anonymous expert in water regulations. "The logical conclusion is that millions of people’s drinking water is potentially unsafe." Documents obtained by Yanna Lambrinidou, an academic at Virginia Tech, show how water authorities have apparently gamed the tests.

For one thing, they suggest residents run water for a few minutes or take filters off the taps before collecting water for lead tests—which the EPA says can alter results. Such practices have been found in Washington, DC; Philadelphia; Rhode Island; and several Michigan cities, including Flint, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Jackson, and Holland. "There is no way that Flint is a one-off," says Lambrinidou, who sat on an EPA task force about water poisoning and slammed its conclusions. Meanwhile, Flint residents have another problem: replacing service lines, pipes, and heaters damaged by the city's water, the Washington Post reports. The city hasn't yet released any funds to help them out.

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