U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced a bill Monday to allow future presidents to respond swiftly to protect residents from lead contamination in drinking water.
“The outrageous disaster in Flint, Michigan is being addressed by an excellent bipartisan bill negotiated by the two Michigan senators,” Boxer said. “I call on those in the Senate who are holding up this compromise to step aside and allow us to move to the bill. … After watching the Flint disaster unfold, I realized that we need to have a better way to address the crisis of lead in drinking water going forward.”
Under the bill, a governor would be able to ask the president for a disaster declaration if lead contamination is discovered. If the president agrees, FEMA would provide immediate assistance to protect from lead in water.
“It is critical that future presidents do not have their hands tied because the definition of a disaster does not include lead contamination in drinking water,” Boxer added.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is no safe level of lead for children and the effects of exposure are generally irreversible. Lead harms the developing brains and nervous systems of children and babies. It can cause miscarriage, stillbirths and infertility in both men and women.
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