For Immediate Release
May 18, 2012
For more information, contact:
Roberta Hazen Aaronson, 785-1310x203
Laura Brion, 785-1310x205
Who: Childhood Lead Action Project
When: Wednesday, May 23 @ 12:30PM
Where: State House Rotunda
What: A creative action involving colorful children's balls representing the number of lead poisoned kids in RI who will lose critical services if funding for the state's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is not restored immediately. The Childhood Lead Action Project will hold a press conference to request that the state step up to the plate to provide emergency funding to save the program, which was eliminated in the current federal budget despite an increase in the number of lead poisoned children who will depend on this program.
Speakers: Dr. Michael Fine, Director of the RI Department of Health; Representative Art Handy; Derek Brown, parent of 2 lead poisoned children; Jim Vincent, President of the NAACP - Providence Branch; John Kelly, President and Chief Executive Officer of Meeting Street and Roberta Hazen Aaronson, Executive Director of the Childhood Lead Action Project.
Why: Without immediate intervention, the Rhode Island Department of Health's Lead and Healthy Homes Program, along with 34 other state health departments, will be devastated by extreme cuts in funding approved by Congress last December. If the budget cuts remain, Rhode Island's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program will lose its capacity to monitor lead poisoning cases and respond to every child who has an elevated blood lead level with a home inspection and referrals for medical intervention and lead remediation. Additionally, the program's prevention efforts will likely disappear regarding proactive housing policies, community education and outreach.
For Immediate Release
September 8, 2010
Laura Brion, Childhood Lead Action Project, (401) 785-1310,
Sheila Dormody, Clean Water Action, (401) 369-1832,
Protesters: Providence Water Wasting $7.4 Million Each Year and Exceeding EPA Safe Lead Levels
Providence RI – The Lead Pipe Coalition demonstrated outside the headquarters of the Providence Water Supply Board (PWSB) today to protest the water supplier’s partial lead service line replacements. Protestors with the Coalition threw mock dollars into a sink to illustrate how the potentially dangerous practice is also a waste of millions in tax dollars. Providence Mayoral candidate, Angel Taveras, also joined the protest.
The Providence Water Supply Board’s lead pipe replacement program began three years ago to address high levels of lead in local drinking water. Private contractors hired by the Providence Water Supply Board replace only the portion of the service lines that run from the street up to the sidewalk, leaving in place pipes containing lead between the sidewalk and individual homes. Full service line replacements rarely occur, because homeowners must pay for the replacement of the service line between the sidewalk and their homes, which can cost $3,000 to $6,000 per home.
In recent years, concern has grown around new research indicating that partial lead service line replacements can cause increased lead levels in water instead of lowering them.
“The U.S. EPA has declared that our water supply has dangerously high levels of lead, and Providence needs a real solution to that problem,” said Laura Brion, Community Organizer for the Childhood Lead Action Project. “Partially replacing lead pipes has not been proven to reduce lead in our drinking water and it may even make the problem worse.”
The Coalition noted that the Providence Water Supply Board continues to conduct the potentially hazardous partial replacements of lead drinking water pipes even though the R.I. Department of Health gave them permission to stop the replacement program. In April 2010, the Department of Health authorized the Providence Water Supply Board to end this year’s replacement program because of the concerns raised about partial lead service line replacement and to allow Health to evaluate the data and determine whether a change in direction was appropriate. However, despite growing community opposition, the Providence Water Supply Board has continued this work.
The partial replacement program is a significant expense at $7.4 million per year with no clear evidence that it is reducing lead in our drinking water. The coalition is urging the Providence Water Supply Board to fully replace lead drinking water pipes.
“It is irresponsible to continue wasting $7.4 million every year on partial lead pipe replacements,” said Steve Fischbach, vice chairperson of the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island and a resident of Cranston. “The Providence Water Supply Board needs to do the job right and fully replace the lead pipes.”
In response to concerns about spiking lead levels following partial lead service line replacements, the PWSB has started distributing water filters in the areas where they are doing work, but the Coalition says this fails to provide adequate protection from long-term risks and doesn’t justify continuing to waste money on an ineffective program. The Lead Pipe Coalition remains strongly opposed to the partial replacement work continuing in neighborhoods throughout Cranston, Providence, North Providence, and Johnston.
“The residents in my neighborhood were relieved when Providence Water stopped doing these partial lead pipe replacements in our area,” said Marcus Mitchell, president of the Mount Hope Neighborhood Association. “But moving the construction project to other peoples’ neighborhoods hasn’t solved the problem.”
The Lead Pipe Coalition includes the Mount Hope Neighborhood Association, the Childhood Lead Action Project, Clean Water Action, Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island, the Mount Hope Learning Center, and the Mount Hope Community Baptist Church.
Providence Water Supply Board 2010 Lead Service Line Replacement Schedule http://www.provwater.com/lsr.htm
Reaction to the Solution: Lead Exposure Following Partial Service Line Replacement. Rebecca Renner, Environmental Health Perspectives, May 2010. http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.118-a202
Area’s Water-Pipe Replacement Work Put Off. Philip Marcello, Providence Journal, April 13, 2010. http://www.projo.com/news/content/WATERPIPE_REPLACEMENT_PROTEST_04-13-10_O0I3JL_v22.3a5bc82.html
CDC misled District residents about lead levels in water, House probe finds. Carol Leonnig, Washington Post, May 20, 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/19/AR2010051902599.html?hpid=moreheads
Consumer Fact Sheet on Lead in Drinking Water. US Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lcrmr/fs_consumer.html