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Dingell: EPA Lead and Cooper Rule Comes up Short, Meaningful Improvements Needed to Prevent Another Flint

Washington, February 11, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) called on Congress to act to prevent another lead drinking water crisis like what happened in Flint, Michigan. During a subcommittee hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper rule proposal, Dingell called the EPA’s proposal insufficient to make meaningful improvements to replacing infrastructure in order to protect human health and our environment for the long term.

Testifying at the hearing was Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Director of Pediatric Public Health Initiative at Michigan State University, who brought to light the dangerous levels of lead in Flint, Michigan’s drinking water.

“As I have said in the past many times, government at all levels failed the people of Flint and government at all levels has a moral obligation to fix this man-made problem,” said Dingell. “Lead is highly toxic—we all know this and access to clean water is a basic human right. The Lead and Copper Rule proposal by the EPA comes up far short of what is actually needed if we are to make meaningful improvements to protect human health and our environment for the long term.”

Video of Dingell and Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s exchange is available here.

“[Lead] is a neurotoxin, it impacts cognition, development and behavior. It has life-altering, multi-generational, multi-system consequences. There is very clear science – which we have known for hundreds of years, back when the Romans used lead – that tells us there is no safe level [of lead],” said Dr. Hanna-Attisha. “The focus should be on primary prevention – doing everything we can to not expose children. Not only does it make health sense and development sense, but we also know it makes economic sense.”

Dingell is a passionate advocate for clean drinking water. Calling for everyone to learn from the Flint Water Crisis, Dingell is active in the response to PFAS contamination in Michigan and across the country. In January, the House passed Dingell’s bipartisan, comprehensive legislation to address the toxic forever chemicals, including listing PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under the EPA’s Superfund program to accelerate the clean-up process at military facilities and in communities across the country.

In 2018, Dingell successfully added provisions to a critical water infrastructure improvement bill that would improve the transparency of water quality. Dingell’s provisions make consumer confidence reports on drinking water quality more frequent and easier for every American to understand.

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