Brain-damaging lead in tap water, hundreds of homes across Chicago

After city testing found high lead levels in the tap water in her Chicago home, Jenny Abrahamian decided to install a whole-house water filtration system and an additional reverse-osmosis filter for her kitchen sink. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Amid renewed national attention to the dangers of lead poisoning, hundreds of Chicagoans have taken the city up on its offer of free testing kits to determine if they are drinking tap water contaminated with the brain-damaging metal.

A Tribune analysis of the results shows lead was found in water drawn from nearly 70 percent of the 2,797 homes tested during the past two years. Tap water in 3 of every 10 homes sampled had lead concentrations above 5 parts per billion, the maximum allowed in bottled water by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Alarming amounts of the toxic metal turned up in water samples collected throughout the city, the newspaper’s analysis found, largely because Chicago required the use of lead service lines between street mains and homes until Congress banned the practice in 1986. The testing kit results provide the most conclusive evidence yet of widespread hazards that have remained hidden for decades. Yet as Mayor Rahm Emanuel […]

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Brain-damaging lead in tap water, hundreds of homes across Chicago
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Brain-damaging lead in tap water, hundreds of homes across Chicago
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A Tribune analysis of the results shows lead was found in water drawn from nearly 70 percent of the 2,797 homes tested during the past two years. Tap water in 3 of every 10 homes sampled had lead concentrations above 5 parts per billion, the maximum allowed in bottled water by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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Chicago Tribune
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