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County governments should put in place adequate measures to manage all potential sources of poisoning and health hazards. The latest scandal concerning the presence of lead in drinking water was reported in Newark, New Jersey. Different agencies and councils have been monitoring the issue in order to ensure the local government addresses it within the shortest time possible and protect people’s lives (Sax, 2018). This paper gives a detailed research summary of the information obtained and studied from different peer-reviewed and current affairs articles.
Thesis statement: With the current levels of lead in Newark’s drinking water being unsafe for human consumption and domestic use, there is a need for the county to implement evidence-based strategies to address this public health problem and protect the lives of all citizens.
The latest report released by Newark City has revealed that the region is currently facing a water poisoning crisis. According to it, the Pequannock water treatment plant was the source of the mentioned lead poisoning in early 2017 (Johnson, 2019). These findings contradicted earlier observations whereby the city had insisted that the county was not affected by the issue. Over 22,0000 households were connected to contaminated water (Campbell, Greenberg, Mankikar, & Ross, 2016). New studies conducted by the government went further to reveal that over 180 domestic settings had unhealthy lead levels in their water (Sax, 2018). With this kind of information, the Natural Resources Defense Council sued Newark for disobeying and violating the stipulated rules for drinking water.
Newark had been using advanced systems to eliminate dangerous microbes capable of affecting people’s health outcomes. Since 2012, the city had been reducing the pH levels of its water to minimize haloacetic acids and trihalomethanes that can cause cancer (Yi, 2018). Due to such measures, various metals became more toxic and capable of threatening people’s lives. The reduction of water pH is, therefore, what corroded thousands of pipes connecting many households to the existing water system.
However, most of the states across the United States require that drinking water is tested for harmful compounds after every three years. According to the federal government, the action level for the targeted metal in water should be around 15 parts per billion for the 90th percentile (Yi, 2018). This means that the city failed to take this requirement seriously. Johnson (2019) goes further to indicate that there might have been other sources of lead contamination in Newark’s drinking water. Some of them could have included lead-based paints, soil, and plumbing materials, and pipes (Yi, 2018). Corrosion is another way through which lead poisons into drinking water.
Most of the affected households and learning institutions in Newark have recorded numerous health problems. According to Sax (2018), there will never be safe levels for exposure to harmful compounds, such as copper and lead. Those who consume large quantities of lead will have increased chances of developing various complications, including kidney problems, cognitive dysfunction, brain damage, infertility, and high blood pressure (Jennings & Duncan, 2017).
Newark became the first town to have many children exposed to lead poisoning. Some tests conducted in 2016 revealed that over 30 schools in the region were receiving contaminated water (Yi, 2018). With such challenges, many agencies and organizations are currently fighting court battles to ensure that all Newark residents get safe drinking water.
Pros and Cons
The identified public health issue continues to affect many people in Newark by exposing them to various illnesses. One side of the concern is that many professionals, policymakers, and agencies believe that there is a need to contain the increasing levels of lead in Newark’s drinking water. This is the reason why some of them are battling in court to protect citizens’ lives. This side presents various pros that will support the needs of the greatest number of people and institutions (Campbell et al., 2016).
Firstly, evidence-based water treatment and management procedures will ensure that more citizens have access to clean water (Yi, 2018). Secondly, the county will be compelled to tackle the issue and install new pipes that do not contaminate water. A study by Sax (2018) indicated that there was a need for all counties to have frequent testing procedures for hazardous chemicals and compounds. Such measures or interventions will address this health problem.
Specific disadvantages that might arise include shortage of water until new systems are in place, failure to comply with existing standards, and prolonged court battles. The move can also create a scenario whereby the city fails to involve stakeholders throughout the process (Campbell et al., 2016). This means that more people will still be at risk of other poisonous compounds.
The other side of the issue is to treat the incident as something unanticipated and allow the city to implement powerful measures to mitigate it. According to Jennings and Duncan (2017), such a move will present these benefits or advantages: reduced response time, improved water treatment procedures, and the involvement of different stakeholders. These measures will ensure that more partners are involved to deliver quality drinking water to Newark’s people.
Past research studies have identified specific issues that might emerge if counties and municipalities fail to pursue this health problem diligently. The first one is that those who have consumed contaminated water might not receive adequate compensation (Jennings & Duncan, 2017). The second con is that many institutions will be required to drill their own water. The third one is that the city might be on the defensive and prolong the situation (Sax, 2018). The most important thing is for all stakeholders to collaborate and find a long-lasting solution.
The above discussion has revealed that the current levels of lead in Newark’s drinking water are unsafe for human consumption and domestic use. This is major public health that the people of this city have grappled with since 2016. Individuals exposed to lead will be at risk of cardiovascular disease, brain damage, and infertility. Since each side of this public health issue presents both disadvantages and benefits, there is a need for the city to implement evidence-based initiatives to address it.
Campbell, C., Greenberg, R., Mankikar, D., & Ross, R. D. (2016). A case study of environmental injustice: The failure in Flint. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(10), 951-961. Web.
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Jennings, B., & Duncan, L. L. (2017). Water safety and lead regulation: Physicians’ community health responsibilities. AMA Journal of Ethics, 19(10), 1027-1035. Web.
Johnson, T. (2019). Lawmakers want inventory of lead service lines in public water systems. NJ Spotlight. Web.
Sax, S. (2018). How Newark got lead in its water, and what it means for the rest of America. Vice News. Web.
Yi, K. (2018). Newark said it was fixing the lead in its water. Now there’s a problem with the treatment. NJ.com. Web.