Water, water everywhere and not a drop that’s safe to drink. The water crisis in Flint, MI and lead contamination in Sebring, OH may lead some to think America’s water supply is at risk nationwide; and they may be right. In the aftermath of Flint resident’s exposure to dangerous levels of lead when the city decided to switch its water resource from Lake Huron, federal investigations have revealed that other U.S. cities may also be at risk for lead poisoning.
While Michigan Governor Rick Snyder reportedly tried to deny what has become a serious, life threatening disaster, other U.S. governors could very well face similar emergencies if something is not done soon to address a growing problem of lead contamination in our nation’s water supplies.
Other Cities Are At Risk
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 30 million Americans are at risk of contracting severe and debilitating illnesses due to high levels of lead in drinking water, faucets and fixtures, the core issue being that old lead pipes are still in many of America’s homes and cities.
Health Effects of Lead Poisoning
Lead poisoning has devastating effects on health, especially in pregnant women, infants and the unborn. Lead contamination in drinking water can cause premature births and low birth rates and is the number one health threat to children. Stunted growth; damage to the central nervous system, brain and kidneys; learning disabilities and hyperactivity, the list goes on. Men who consume contaminated water are at risk for heart attacks, high blood pressure, hypertension and strokes.
When It Comes Down To Money
In order for the E.P.A to replace all lead piping to their water systems, it would cost roughly $50 billion, a fraction of deferred maintenance already needed by 2030 of $384 billion. Flint’s Mayor has proposed a budget of $55 million to replace all aging lead pipes serving their residents, a large sum for the ailing town, that will likely have to be funded by the federal government and state.
When it comes down to the money, who else will try to cut corners like Gov. Rick Snyder? Luckily for Flint, their lead piping is now under public scrutiny, but can we expect other cash-strapped U.S. cities to fall prey to similar water contamination problems?
This recent water crisis makes one wonder what other inner city minorities have been disproportionately victimized by contaminated drinking supplies and deficient treatment plants. Whose voices have been marginalized? As stated by New York Times’ M. Wines and J. Shwartz, “Cost considerations drove the decision to switch Flint from Lake Huron water to Flint River water, unleashing the lead problems. But water, Mr. Henderson said, has to be more than a matter of the bottom line.”
Clean Water: A Human Right
On July 28, 2010 the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 64/292 which declared that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential human rights and that states—foreign and domestic—must make financial resources and technology transfers to help underdeveloped countries gain access to water and sanitation.
“Ultimately, water problems in Flint and elsewhere suggest a failing in society’s concept of water. It doesn’t just come out of the wall”, said Henry L. Henderson, the Midwest program director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We see safe and sufficient water as a human right... It needs to be approached as a public service matter, not a private commercial commodity.”
Together, We Can Make A Difference
This issue strikes close to home for the team at Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water. A large piece of Waiakea’s story originates with founder Ryan Emmons’ volunteer work in Africa building wells to provide clean drinking water for communities who didn’t have access to sanitary water sources. Now, Waiakea donates 650 liters of clean drinking water to people that lack access in Malawi, Africa, for each 1 liter bottle that is sold.
In response to the water crisis in Flint, Waiakea has pledged to donate 50 percent of its online proceeds now through February 15th for each order of our one-time delivery sold with code FLINT at checkout on our online store. Visit store.waiakeasprings.com for an opportunity to make a contribution. If we all band together, we can make a difference.
To date, Waiakea has donated over 1 billion liters of clean drinking to communities in Malawi.