Moore to Federal Agencies on Unsafe Drinking Water: ‘I am Concerned About My Constituents’

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Washington, January 25, 2018 | comments
Milwaukee, WI — In response to numerous media reports of high levels of lead in Milwaukee’s drinking water, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04) sent letters to the Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control as well as the Field Office Director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to seek information as to how the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is being managed.

“As you know, the 2014 crisis in Flint, Michigan brought national attention to the issue of lead in drinking water, as well as the devastating health consequences on young children,” wrote Congresswoman Moore. “A couple years later, the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families released their analysis of the rate of lead poisoning among children in Wisconsin. This analysis showed that the rate of lead poisoning among children in Wisconsin is nearly equal to Flint, Michigan. In Wisconsin, 4.6% of children under the age of 6 who were tested had lead poisoning; Flint, Michigan’s rate was 4.9%. The analysis further found that a disproportionate number of African-American children had lead poisoning.”

The letters also reference reports that the City of Milwaukee Health Department failed to provide notification to thousands of families whose children tested positive for elevated blood lead levels.

“I am concerned about my constituents, especially the children who may not have received appropriate care. I urge you to investigate the administration of this program and ensure it is in compliance with the guidelines for lead poisoning as established by the federal Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.”

For more information on free blood lead testing click here.

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See full text of the letters below:

January 23, 2018

Mr. Mitchell Wolfe
Acting Director
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
395 E St SW Ste 9100
Washington, DC 20472-3298

Dear Mr. Wolfe,

I am writing this letter to seek information in regard to the federally funded Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, administered by the City of Milwaukee.

As you know, the 2014 crisis in Flint, Michigan brought national attention to the issue of lead in drinking water, as well as the devastating health consequences on young children. A couple years later, the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families released their analysis of the rate of lead poisoning among children in Wisconsin. This analysis showed that the rate of lead poisoning among children in Wisconsin is nearly equal to Flint, Michigan. In Wisconsin, 4.6% of children under the age of 6 who were tested had lead poisoning; Flint, Michigan’s rate was 4.9%. The analysis further found that a disproportionate number of African-American children had lead poisoning.

I mention the facts above in order to illustrate the seriousness of lead poisoning in the State of Wisconsin and, in particular, within the 4th Congressional District and the City of Milwaukee, which has the largest concentration of lead service lines in the state. The City of Milwaukee Health Department tests children for lead exposure through the earlier mentioned Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Recently, it was reported that the City of Milwaukee Health Department failed to provide notification to thousands of families whose children tested positive for elevated blood lead levels (see attached article).

As a result of the lack of notification, the City of Milwaukee instituted a number of personnel changes, citing mismanagement in the City of Milwaukee Health Department. I am concerned about my constituents, especially the children who may not have received appropriate care. I urge you to investigate the administration of this program and ensure it is in compliance with the guidelines for lead poisoning as established by the federal Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

The City of Milwaukee’s CDC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program has been considered a model program for the nation in the past. The program is vital to the well-being of Milwaukee’s children and must continue to operate at a high standard to mitigate exposure to lead. I appreciate your timely consideration of this request. Please feel free to contact my office if you have questions regarding this letter.

Sincerely,
Gwen Moore
Member of Congress
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