Michigan lead rules contain significant loophole, analysis finds

December 08, 2021, 10:00 AM

Key lead-safety rules implemented by state environmental regulators in response to the Flint water crisis are not being enforced, raising the possibility of worse-than-known contamination, Planet Detroit reports in story co-published by the HuffPost. 

As part of Michigan's new protocols, municipalities that discover excessive lead levels in their drinking water are required to conduct follow up tests of specific pipes. But because some cities don't know what materials live underground, Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has allowed them to meet their re-testing quota by looking at non-lead pipes, the environmental news website reports, which results in clean reads when other parts of the system may be contaminated. 

Cities where Planet Detroit's analysis finds this happened include Dearborn Heights, Royal Oak Township, Clare, St. Clair Shores, Harper Woods and Garden City.

Public health advocates quoted in the article also take issue with the rules more broadly, saying that water systems are not required to check enough pipes frequently enough to give a realistic picture of lead hazards.

What's more, a Virginia Tech professor and activist with the Campaign for Lead Free Water, Yanna Lambrinidou, says even if the state’s were to replace all of its lead lines, home plumbing fixtures can still cause lead contamination.

Her take? Equip every home with a filter.

Read more:  Planet Detroit

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