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High lead levels pour from Chicago faucets; raise concern of testing methods

Exposure to lead – even a little – in tap water can cause serious health problems in both children and adults. In this report by Ellen Gabler of the Chicago Tribune, she reveals that a recent federal testing of Chicago’s tap water showed that “nearly 45 percent” of homes “had lead levels spike when more water samples were taken directly” after the initial testing that is done. All homes passed that first test. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials conducted another small study of Chicago tap water earlier this year, which also revealed high levels of lead.

Gabler writes, “Those results suggest that the way water is screened for lead nationwide may inaccurately gauge how much of the toxic metal leaches into our water.”

“The city of Chicago hasn’t exceeded that limit in nearly 20 years, and neither have the majority of communities across the nation. But regulators, scientists and public health officials are worried the flawless results are the result of outdated testing methods, government agencies gaming the system or both.”

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