Report: Many U.S. Cities Could Have Lead-Contaminated Water

The scandal surrounding Flint, Michigan's contaminated drinking water has fully caught the public's attention, but it might turn out to be merely the worst of many cities when it comes to contamination. According to a source who has cropped up, "every major US city east of the Mississippi" is distorting the levels of lead and copper in their drinking water, meaning more places than just Flint could be putting their residents at risk.

The information comes from The Guardian, which says it received documents showing that city water tests are "systematically distorting" the amount of lead present. In addition, a source said to have "extensive knowledge" of pertinent regulations has claimed this issue covers all big cities in the easternmost region of the U.S.

This so-called distortion of facts comes by cities using water testing methods that the Environmental Protection Agency have classified as being misleading. The documents provided to the Guardian are said to point out Philadelphia, Detroit, and Rhode Island state as being among places using these misleading methods.

Says the source, "By word of mouth, this [testing] has become the thing to do in the water industry." Misleading water testing methods include running water for several minutes before testing in order to flush out any contaminants that may have settled into the water. Another inappropriate testing method, which the documents allegedly show Philadelphia as recommending to residents, involves removing the aerator from a faucet, conducting the test, then replacing the aerator.

Lead, of course, has very serious health consequences. Without proper testing, cities can hide excess lead levels or continue to operate in ignorance of them, potentially leading to more cities like Flint.

SOURCE: The Guardian