The Stream, July 31, 2020: Children Around the World Are Threatened by Elevated Lead Levels

The Global Rundown

A new report from UNICEF examines water contaminated by leads pipes in the United States and the threat of lead in children’s blood globally. Oklahoma City is battered by rainfall. A report out of Australia delivers a scathing assessment on water markets. Flooding in India continues. Focus is put on the impact of agriculture in Lake Erie. 

“It seemed that we had fixed the problem in Lake Erie and we were good to go. But as we’ve learned more we’ve recognized that they aren’t really broken or fixed. You can control a problem through management and that control has to be ongoing and may not have a clear end point.” – Craig Stow, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. Stow and others at NOAA assumed that algal blooms in Lake Erie, which produce bacteria that can be harmful to humans and wildlife, were taken care of by the 1990s. Now the green scum is back thanks to agricultural runoff. Stakeholders in Michigan came together to create a management plan for the Great Lake with hopes to meet its goals of reducing the amount of phosphorus in the lake by 2025. WKAR

In context: Consolidation of Livestock Farms Creates a Big Manure—and Nutrient—Challenge

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

Kenya Looks to Sustain Health Focus Beyond the Pandemic – As Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Kenya, a coordinated effort by the government and aid organizations addresses water, hygiene and sanitation.

Where Water Is Scarce on Native American Reservations Covid-19 Spreads More Easily – For Indigenous people living across the United States, the Covid-19 pandemic is the newest chapter in a long history of fighting against disease.

By The Numbers

6.1 million The estimated number of homes in the United States that still get their water supply from lead pipes, according to a new report from UNICEF. The report, which estimates 1 in 3 children worldwide have elevated levels of lead in the blood, said that lead in water is a common source of contamination. Lead can be especially dangerous when exposed to children, who absorb 4 to 5 times more of the lead that enters their bodies than adults. Elevated blood levels can potentially have lifelong socio-economic implications for children, the report said, including educational outcomes, violence, future wages, and children’s social and economic potential in life. UNICEF 

In context: Expert Council Recommends Eliminating Lead Drinking Water Lines

12 The number of people rescued from high waters in Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Rain flooded the city up to 9 inches (22.86 cm) to of rain which can be blamed on “a really moist atmosphere and not a lot of winds,” according to Oklahoma City Fire Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson. Another round of storms could bring up to four more inches (10.16 cm) of the rain. The Lawton Constitution

Science, Studies, and Reports

A new report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) proposed the possibility of a federal takeover the Murray-Darling Basin to ensure that the $1.5 billion water market operates fairly. The report concluded that the water market had outgrown the current patchwork system run by the states and that there was potential for conflicts of interest and market manipulation due to little regulatory oversight. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s executive director of regulation, Tim Goodes, said they would consider the issues identified in the report and work with the ACCC and state governments to improve the water markets. The Guardian 

In context: Australia Disbands National Water Commission 

On the Radar

The impact of flooding in the northeastern Indian state of Assam improved slightly on Tuesday, according to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority. The authority reported that the number of districts affected by floods dropped from 28 to 21 and that the number of people affected by the floods has been cut in half in the last 10 days. Conditions continued to worsen in other areas of the country, like in Darbhanga, Bihar, where the Khiro and Bagmati rivers have wreaked havoc on the city for the past week. Hindustan Times

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