After driving her kids all over town to school, band practice, and a baseball game, a Pittsburgh mom finally sits down for a quick meal. Flipping on the TV, she hears urgency in the newscaster’s voice as he says “The impact of the Flint Water Crisis has been detrimental to the cognitive development of Flint’s children.”
The Flint water crisis had been years ago. How did the city take this long to find out its impact on Flint’s children? Hearing this news frustrated her. No child deserves to have learning disabilities because of the water they drink. Little did she know that the water in her cup, and the water her own children drink every day, may also be contaminated with lead.
Pittsburgh and Newark Water Crises
Less publicized than Flint’s water crisis, Pittsburgh and Newark citizens have had lead in their drinking water for years. There are different entities responsible for the lead-contaminated water in each of these cities, but this problem could have likely been avoided.
People have been aware of Newark’s lead problem since 2016 when 30 public schools were found to have elevated lead levels in their water. Newark officials waited two years to alert the public about this. Unfortunately, the city’s water pipes were built with lead that wasn’t supposed to seep into the water. They used prevention methods to keep lead particles from getting corroded and entering the water, but the methods were unsuccessful. Lead flakes have been entering the water supply for years, and the city didn’t start replacing the pipes until 2019.
Lead levels in Newark have decreased this year, but that doesn’t discount the fact that Newark children have higher levels of lead in their blood and could be affected by this for the rest of their lives.
Lead flakes in Pittsburgh’s water pipes mirrored Newark’s problem. The Veolia corporation has often been listed as a culprit for similar problems. Veolia controlled the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority from 2012 throughout 2015, when lead levels significantly increased in the water. In 2016, the city failed its first water quality test due to lead levels that greatly exceeded what is considered safe.
Lead Exposure’s Effect on Children
Experts report that no level of lead is safe, but it is especially harmful for children. Children younger than age six are particularly vulnerable to learning difficulties and developmental delays because of lead exposure.
The shocking statistics of the Flint Water Crisis only prove this further.
Before Flint’s water crisis, 15 percent of children needed special education services. Now, that number has increased to nearly 80 percent of Flint children. These dark numbers paint a scary picture for Pittsburgh and Newark, and potentially other cities around the U.S.
Pittsburgh and Newark parents have already started testing children’s blood lead levels. In Pittsburgh, three in ten children have been tested for lead exposure. Around five percent of them were found to have elevated lead levels.
281 Newark children showed high levels of lead in their blood, which is 5.9 percent of all children tested in the city.
Parents shouldn’t have to worry that their children will have high lead levels in their blood. Since Pittsburgh and Newark residents were not warned of the water crisis until years after it began, these children likely had long-term lead exposure.
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Lead-Contaminated Water: A Global Crisis
Pittsburgh and Newark citizens have started to discover the consequences of unknowingly drinking lead-contaminated water, but all U.S. citizens should be cautious. Elevated lead levels in drinking water have been found in many states throughout the country.
There are an estimated 6.1 million lead pipelines still in use in America, connected to buildings’ water sources. This means that Flint, Pittsburgh, and Newark weren’t the only cities with lead-contaminated water. They were just the first to hear about this widespread problem. Lead-contaminated pipes across the U.S. need to be fixed immediately, but the American Water Works Association claims it will cost $1 trillion to complete the process. Waiting for these pipes to be fixed can wreak havoc on American children in the meantime.
Pintas & Mullins Can Help
If your child experienced developmental issues from lead-contaminated water, let our team of experienced lawyers assist you in filing a legal claim. We have helped thousands of Flint citizens who were affected by the water crisis, and are determined to pursue justice for Pittsburgh and Newark. Call us for a free legal consultation today at (800) 614-4857. You don’t need any money to hire us, and we don’t get paid unless we secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf.