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Norton Calls CDC Handling A "Cover Up"

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By Manuel Quinones

The controversy over the District’s 2004 lead-laced drinking-water problem continues to build. And D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is angry over how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention handled the matter.

Norton said in a statement that the CDC has participated in nothing short of a cover up that may have harmed families, especially children, in ways that could be difficult to redress. That was after Congressional testimony by expert witnesses like Dr. Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech.

"Lead in D.C.’s drinking water was very high from 2001 to 2004 and the levels of lead were very high, some of which exceeded hazardous waste levels. And this danger was hidden from the public for nearly three years," says Edwards.

Congressional investigators found that a division of the CDC knowingly used flawed data and faulty assumptions when it assured District residents in 2004 that their drinking water was safe from lead.

In her own comments before the subcommittee, Norton called for action.

"It seems to me all but obvious that CDC be in touch immediately with health officials in the District of Columbia to offer services to them and to the identified families," she says.

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