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Reuters: Lead poisoning in thousands of U.S. cities worse than Flint




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Flint, Michigan has been without clean water for more than two years.

Cost-cutting measures there led to tainted drinking water that contained lead and other toxins.

But Flint isn't the only town with a lead problem. 

The news agency Reuters has discovered that nearly 3,000 areas, including some here in California, have recently recorded lead poisoning rates at least double those found in Flint. 

Reuters data journalist Michael Pell spoke with Take Two's Alex Cohen for more. 

We found kids in states across the country that had high lead levels. They were in places that you might expect or think about when you think about lead like Cleveland and Baltimore and Philadelphia. But when we took a look at the data on a granular level, even people that work with this problem said, 'Mike we knew that Cleveland had a problem with elevated lead problems in kids, but I didn't realize exactly where it was. And we didn't know how bad it was throughout the state.'"

Are these isolated incidents?

These weren't isolated incidents. What were looking at was the percentage of kids who were tested who had higher lead levels. In some neighborhoods, they were as many 40 percent, or nearly half, the kids tested. We looked at a community in Missouri called St. Joseph and these are communities where one out of every five kids tested had high lead levels.

On the locations in California that have this problem

If you look at the zip code for Fruitvale [in Oakland]... That's 7.5 percent of the kids tested had high lead levels. The data that we got from California was limited. But still what you see is a significant number of kids testing high. It would be nice have data for all of California zip codes. That way we could see precisely what's going on in all neighborhoods.

Answers have been edited for clarity

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