"Lead May Be Leaching Into Thousands of D.C. Homes"

"The water in almost 15,000 D.C. homes that received repairs during a massive effort to remove lead pipes may still be contaminated by dangerous levels of the metal, according to a report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If those residences are home to small children, pregnant women or anyone with a compromised immune system, the water should be tested, said George Hawkins, general manager of D.C. Water.

The CDC concluded that homeowners who had pipes only partially replaced may have made the problem worse. The center also confirmed that children living in the District were exposed to an increased risk of lead poisoning from 2000 to 2006 as an inadvertent result of efforts to disinfect the water supply that caused lead pipes to corrode and leach into the water that flowed through them.

The findings are a sharp reversal by the federal health agency, which initially said it had found no evidence of measurable or significant harm to public health. A congressional inquiry concluded in May that the CDC knowingly used false data in making a "scientifically indefensible" claim that the water was safe to drink. "

Ashley Halsey III and Mike DeBonis report for the Washington Post December 2, 2010.

Thursday, December 2, 2010