The Stream, February 19: Chicago Sued Over Lead In Drinking Water

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Residents are suing the city of Chicago over actions they say have contaminated drinking water supplies with lead, and a national environmental group is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate perchlorate in drinking water. Businesses in Sao Paulo, Brazil are expressing skepticism at the city’s efforts to prevent future water shortages, and Jordan is planning to invest in solar energy to power water pumps and meet growing demand for water. Aid agencies working in Tonga are concerned that an approaching tropical storm could help spread the Zika virus, while scientists are reaffirming that Zika is the most likely culprit behind a rash of birth defects, not insecticides.

“We do not believe (Sabesp’s) actions are sufficient to achieve water security. This is cyclical. It happened in 2004, it happened in 2014. We don’t have a crystal ball to know when it might happen again.” –Anicia Pio, head of the environmental department at state industry association Fiesp, on the threat of water shortages in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Even though reservoirs in the city have started to recover from a severe drought, some businesses are turning to private water supplies to safeguard against future dry spells. (Reuters)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

$5.4 billion Amount Jordan spends annually on energy to fuel its water pumps. The country is planning to invest in solar power to reduce costs, especially in light of growing demand from Syrian refugees. Bloomberg

259 Number of suspected Zika virus cases in Tonga, where aid agencies worry an approaching tropical storm could trigger a larger outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease. Reuters


Science, Studies, And Reports

The addition of an insecticide to drinking water supplies in Brazil, aimed at killing mosquito larvae, is not likely linked to the recent increase in birth defects, according to scientists at global health organizations. A report released last week by doctors in Argentina questioned whether the insecticide caused the birth defects, instead of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. NPR

On the Radar

On The Radar

A class-action lawsuit filed by Chicago residents alleges that they have been exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water for years, and asks the city to completely replace all of its lead water pipes. The lawsuit says maintenance projects conducted by the city have disturbed the pipes and leached lead into the water system. Guardian

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental law group based in New York City, is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force it to regulate levels of the chemical perchlorate in drinking water. The lawsuit says the EPA has failed to restrict the chemical even though the agency determined it should be regulated. Reuters

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