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CDC Director Meets With Delegate Norton On The District's Water

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Residents deal with uncertainties about lead in the city's water supply after controversy over a CDC report.
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Residents deal with uncertainties about lead in the city's water supply after controversy over a CDC report.

By Natalie Neumann

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and D.C.'s Delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, are trying to reassure District residents that their tap water is safe. The two are working together to confront uncertainties after the latest controversy about the city's water supply.

The two met following last week's Congressional analysis, which accused the CDC of misleading D.C. residents about the safety of lead in their water several years ago.

CDC director Thomas Frieden acknowledged some miscommunication, though did not agree that the agency purposely deceived the public in its own published findings.

"Some of the sentences in that report were taken out of context to suggest that there was not a problem with the water supply," says Frieden.

Frieden says the lead levels are in a safe range now, and Norton says she's confident the water is safe to drink. But the Delegate says all households with children under two and women who are pregnant should have their water tested.

"Not because there is lead in the water, but because there may be lead in the household. We are concerned that there are homes still in the District of Columbia where there are lead pipes," says Norton.

Frieden says children under two should be tested for high levels of lead in their blood and says residents with concerns about their pipes should contact D.C.'s Water and Sewer Authority to have them tested.

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