Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Utilities officials lie in other countries, too!

I came across this article while looking at MSNBC. It reminded me to be a little less judgmental. I was surprised to see this problem in the US but wouldn't have noticed it here in Korea.

Lead levels misrepresented in U.S. cities

Cities across the country are manipulating the results of
tests used to detect lead in water, violating federal law
and putting millions of Americans at risk of drinking
more of the contaminant than their suppliers are reporting.

Some cities, including Philadelphia and Boston, have thrown
out tests that show high readings or have avoided testing
homes most likely to have lead, records show. In New York
City, the nation's largest water provider has for the past three
years assured its 9.3 million customers that its water was safe
because the lead content fell below federal limits. But the city
has withheld from regulators hundreds of test results that would
have raised lead levels above the safety standard in two of those
years, according to records.

We have our own water problems in Canada. A few years ago in Walkerton:

Seven people died from drinking contaminated water.
Hundreds suffered from the symptoms of the disease, not
knowing if they too would die.
According to the local medical officer of health, it all could

have been prevented. Dr. Murray McQuigge stunned the
country with his revelation on CBC Radio on May 25, 200
that the Walkerton Public Utilities Commission knew there
was a problem with the water several days before they told the public.

This is what we expect here in Korea. An online travel guide to Korea warns us that:

Much of the water that is supplied comes from the Han River,
the massive waterway that separates Seoul into two. This River
is supposedly clean enough to swim in, and that is debatable,
but it's certainly not clean enough to drink. Of course it is treated
chemically, but it is better to side with caution on this one as who
knows if those chemicals are even legal in the US.

Here the US is considered a safe place with reasonable health guidelines and we can now see that may not be the case.

I just need to think about these things once in a while to avoid becoming an IA clone. Korea has problems but they aren't alone.

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