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'Part 1984. Part Enemy of the People': Flint Residents Share Their Outrage on Capitol Hill



There was an old expression used by the Communists indicating they would hang the last Capitalist with the rope they sold us.

In Flint the "run it like a business crowd" were given plenty of rope. Did they hang themselves with it? One would hope so.


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Serious question. Does anyone know how many more cities in the USA still reticulate water through lead pipes?

Irrespective of Flint, reticulating even clean water through lead pipes will induce a low-level build-up lead in the body and is to be avoided. Lead has been removed from paint and petrol for very good reasons. Why in the USA are lead pipes still used to reticulate water to households?


Lead pipes were used because when in the ground they last twice as long as cast iron. They were used all the way up to 1980 therebouts and there were so many miles of them installed no city wants to pay for the costs of digging them up and replacing them,

if there ever was such an initiative taxes would go up and the Corporations and anti-tax crowd would complain.

This is an article detailing how the Lobby groups for the lead industry worked after 1900. By 1900 it was well known that lead was a neurotoxin and many cities had health concerns about using lead pipes. This lobby group was formed to continue to promote the use of lead pipes in plumbing and operated well into the 70s. They even promoted the publishing of text books advocating the advantages of lead for plumbers. The lead industry went right to the plumbers to ensure they had the support of the same as they were aware of rising concern over the use of lead in plumbing and wanted to ensure their profits remained intact.

From the artcile.

In 1984 the EPA conducted a survey of 153 public water systems across the country to determine the extent of the use of lead pipes.75 Most (91) of the systems in the survey had populations of over 100000. Of the municipalities surveyed, 112 (73%) indicated that they had in the past installed lead service lines, and 5 specifically stated that lead had been permitted well beyond 1930. Seven systems answered that they currently (as of 1984) used whatever their code permitted. Chicago acknowledged that it still sanctioned the installation of lead service pipes. With passage of the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1986,5 installation of lead water pipes was finally prohibited nationwide.


So in essence they knew as early as 1900 there were dangers in using lead pipes but because the lead industry was naking profits off the same and the pipes lasted longer and were easier to install (more profits) lobby groups ensured they were used well into the mid part of thelast century. Were it not for regulations from Government banning them , they would still be installing them today and these right wing "run government like a business" crowd would like nothing better then to repeal such regulations.

"Who cares about the lead , it is cheaper this way" is the principle under which Snyder operated.


Thanks. That is very interesting. I have often wondered if the use of lead in petrol and the huge reliance on the car in the USA could have led to a low level of chronic lead poisoning and attendant tendency to violence. Would/could lead pipes supplying drinking water be part of the problem? And I doubt if it would be pure lead that was used;antinomy and perhaps even a wee touch of arsenic in there?


It not just water that contaminated with lead due to industry. Soil samples also have higher lead content due to industry and Detroit is one of the cities most heavily affected. The EPA is aware of this and acknowledges that much of the soial samples in residential areas is over the limits when it comes to lead but have indicated cleanup costs are prohibtiive,

In the USA 400 ppm of lead are allowed in the soil in childrens play area (Playgrounds etc) . Samples of soil in Detroit range from a low of 7 to 800 and higher. Natural levels of lead in soil range from 8 ppm to 50 ppm. This means that amounts over 50ppm are generally due to other man made causes.

Canada has stricter guidelines for lead than the USA allowing 140 ppm. I am not sure of the guidelines in the UK but this all speaks to the nature of Industry and how it has contmaniated ecosystems for decades , this a cost to society even as those industries profit off what goods they produce.

Even as Governments the world over begin to recognize the high costs of this legacy of pollution from past Industry , that same Industry and the "Free market" crowd call for less in the way of regulations as it gets in the way of profits and the creation of "jobs and wealth".

Intervention is needed before these proccesses that create all this pollution start and not 30 years after the fact when it too late. Again to the lead in pipes. Even as Society recognized lead a danger to health , these pipes were being used to deliver water because a small group of people could maximize profits by using it and now we got iditos claiming that all of this lead somehow "natural".