If you’re a lead poisoning obsessive (*cough*) Hillary Clinton won your vote tonight during the Democratic debate in Flint moderated by Anderson Cooper:
COOPER: Let me just point out for accuracy’s sake, there are 10 million lead service pipes delivering water to people all across this country tonight. Secretary Clinton?
….CLINTON: I want us to have an absolute commitment to getting rid of lead wherever it is because it’s not only in water systems, it’s also in soil, and it’s in lead paint that is found mostly in older homes. That’s why 500,000 children today have lead — lead in their bodies….That has, unfortunately, been in many ways, moved to a lower priority. I will elevate it, and I will do everything I can. Water, soil, and paint.
Naturally I’m pleased that the problems in Flint have turned a national spotlight on the problem of lead poisoning. I’m a little less pleased that the spotlight is so relentlessly on water. Generally speaking, lead water pipes are not really a huge source of lead poisoning in America these days. The main sources are (a) residual lead in soil and (b) lead paint in older homes—especially around window sills, where the friction of opening and closing the windows exposes old layers of paint and spews lead dust into houses. I’d love to see us spend a big chunk of money on lead remediation, which would almost certainly pay off in the long term, but the money should go mostly into soil and paint remediation.