Lead in D.C. Water May Be Related to Miscarriages, Study Finds

Posted: 12/30/2013  browse the blog archive
Lead in D.C. Water May Be Related to Miscarriages, Study Finds

A new study shows that fetal deaths in Washington, D.C. increased during 2000-2003 and 2007-2009, when the city’s tap water was highly contaminated with lead.

Lead is an extremely toxic heavy metal, long known to the State of California to cause birth defects and reproductive harm.  While the study does not prove that the District’s “lead crisis” caused the miscarriages, it does show a significant correlation between the events.  Fetal death rates spiked in the District during times of high lead contamination in the water and declined after residents were educated and began using filters and taking other preventative steps.

Today, the District’s lead levels are at historic lows.  The full study was published in Environmental Science & Technology.

Had this happened in California, it is possible that those responsible for discharging lead into tap water could have been prosecuted under Proposition 65, which is formally known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.

The Chanler Group represents citizen enforcers who, acting in the public interest, commence actions against businesses offering products for sale in California that contain chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm without first providing the health hazard warning required by Proposition 65. Citizen enforcers bringing Proposition 65 actions in the public interest may obtain a Court Judgment imposing civil penalties, an injunction requiring reformulation of products, and/or provision of health hazard warnings. The Chanler Group has represented citizen enforcers of Proposition 65 for more than twenty years.