PHILADELPHIA — January 28, 2016 – Today, in the wake of shocking news from Flint, Michigan where state-imposed austerity measures have led to widespread lead poisoning, threatening the futures of thousands of children, Councilwoman Helen Gym (At Large) presented a resolution calling for public hearings on the best practices followed by the Philadelphia Water Department as well as on additional measures that can be used to protect the public from lead exposure in household lines. The resolution was co-sponsored by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown (At Large), Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez (7th District), Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell (3rd District), and Councilman Derek Green (At Large).
Exposure to lead, especially among babies and children, causes significant permanent neurological damage. Household water has been estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency to compose 10-20% of recorded human exposure to lead, and 40-60% for babies using formula. To ensure its safety, Philadelphia’s water supply is regularly tested at the source and treated with protective anti-corrosion treatments. Unfortunately, however, in cities like Philadelphia with aging infrastructure many homes still have lead pipes or plumbing components and the public may not understand the continued risk of lead exposure. The goal of these hearings is to collect and make public up-to-date information on the practices used by the Philadelphia Water Department to limit lead exposure, as well as to gather and publicize ways Philadelphians and their local government can further reduce their risk of exposure.
“The national dialogue on water safety calls us to be vigilante and proactive in determining what best practices we are following and to inform the public about lead exposure. These hearings will engage the public and let all Philadelphians better understand, and work to improve, the ongoing efforts to keep our water and our children safe.” said Councilwoman Helen Gym.
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Helen Gym was sworn in for her first term as a Philadelphia Councilmember-At -Large in January 2016. Her primary concerns include addressing widespread poverty in Philadelphia, particularly through an emphasis on building a quality public education system that anchors schools within communities. For more information, visit phlcouncil.com/HelenGym.