Graham Disgusted by Revelations that CDC Lied about Lead Levels in District’s Drinking Water

“This article confirms what the D.C. Council and the advocates – DC Appleseed, Clean Water Action and others – have been saying since 2004. Our children were exposed to dangerous levels of lead in our water,” said Graham chairman of the Committee on Public Works and the Environment.

“To now learn that the Centers for Disease Control not only got it wrong but may have intentionally misled District residents and our water agency is the ultimate betrayal of the public trust.”

“Yet again, we are forced to rely on the free press to find out the truth.”

A January 27, 2007 Washington Post article on the elevated lead levels chronicled a report done by scientists questioning the CDC’s findings. At every oversight hearing from 2004, when the high lead levels were first discovered, to 2007, Graham hounded WASA officials in more than 10 hearings about lead levels. Each time he was assured by WASA officials, relying on the CDC’s reports, that the water was safe. This was in stark contrast to reports from scientists and advocates.

After an extensive oversight hearing in February 2008, WASA, once again despite widespread concern, assured the committee and the Council the drinking water was safe. Unsatisfied, Graham demanded WASA and the newly formed District Department of Energy separately to conduct analyses of the drinking water.

In April 2008, Graham expressed serious concern about the effect WASA’s partial-lead replacements were having on the city’s drinking water. The WASA board voted to modify this practice in September 2008, based on Graham’s concerns, which turned out to be accurate (as the Post story today confirms).

Also, at Graham’s urging DDOE formed the Water Quality Task Force that same month to monitor lead levels on a regular basis in tandem with WASA’s work. Alas, the Task Force has foundered without the resources or WASA determination.

Graham has championed the fight against lead-levels in District homes since the introduction of his first bill as a council member in February 1999, (The Lead Inspection and Turnover Act of 1999) a bill that mandated the inspection and removal of lead paint in homes.


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