Hundreds of Washington DC Children May Have Been Exposed to High Levels of Lead in City’s Tap Water

A new peer-reviewed study to be published in the Environmental Science and Technology raises worries that some 42,000 Washington DC kids, now ages 4 to 9, may have been exposed to high levels of lead during the 2001 water crisis. Many of these children were two years of age or in their mothers’ wombs at that time. According to experts, toddlers and fetuses are most at risk of suffering permanent brain damage from lead poisoning.

The study is based on findings from an analysis of thousands of kids’ blood tests from 2000 to 2003. In some DC neighborhoods, the number of infants and toddlers with blood-lead concentrations that could lead to developmental delays and a permanently lowered IQ more than doubled after record breaking levels of lead began entering the city’s tap water supply.

The addition of a new chemical to the water treatment is what caused the increase in lead concentration. In 2003, DC residents were warned about this problem and were advised to use alternative sources of drinking water.

The new study’s results are counter to what federal and DC officials have said since 2004 when they admitted that although the levels of lead in the city’s water were very high, they did not think that this would significantly impact people. Now, public health officials are claiming that they just didn’t have the information at the time to show that there could be a problem.

According to studies, lead poisoning can cause kids to experience a decrease in IQ, as well as exhibit aggressiveness. One reason that babies in the womb and toddlers are highly succepetable to injuries from lead poisoning is that their brains are not yet fully developed. They can also more easily absorb and ingest more toxic metal than older children and adults.

According to

• Excessive levels of lead in a child’s body can lead to problems with kidneys, brain, or bone marrow.

• Lead poisoning can lead to behavioral problems, attention difficulties, learning problems, and a drop in IQ.

High Lead Levels Found in D.C. Kids, Washington Post, January 27, 2009
Lead Poisoning in Children,
Related Web Resources:

Environmental Science and Technology

Kids’ Pages, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Our Washington DC personal injury law firm represents families with injuries to minors cases. If your son or daughter has lead poisoning or sustained another injury because another party was negligent, contact Lebowitz & Mzhen today.

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