House members, staff offered blood testing after lead found in water

House members, staff offered blood testing after lead found in water
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The House of Representatives is offering blood lead level testing for members and staff following the discovery of lead in the Cannon House Office Building’s drinking water supply. 

In a note sent to all House staffers late Tuesday, the Architect of the Capitol said it would provide the blood tests for free beginning on Wednesday.

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“Results will be provided directly to and confidentially with the individuals who elect to be tested,” the message said.  

The Architect of the Capitol said last week that the tap water in the Cannon House Office Building had lead levels above acceptable levels and might be unsafe to drink. Capitol officials are looking into the cause of the increase. 

The Environmental Protection Agency sets a limit of 15 parts per billion for lead, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that no level of lead is safe for human consumption. Exposure to high levels of lead can cause nervous system problems, developmental issues and brain and kidney damage. 

The testing for House staffers comes while lawmakers and the nation grapple with lead drinking water issues around the country, primarily in Flint, Mich., where the lead contamination is so severe President Obama himself urged residents to test their children. 

“I understand the concern that my colleagues and their staffers have expressed. Lead is a dangerous neurotoxin and high levels of lead in water anywhere is a public health emergency,” said Rep. Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy Kildee Flint lawmaker pushes bill to lower lead levels in drinking water House adopts Flint water measures in spending bill House members, staff offered blood testing after lead found in water MORE (D-Mich.), who represents Flint and has an office in Cannon. 

"But for Flint residents, who have had high levels of lead in their water for two years, it is long past time that Congress get serious about this serious health threat. Helping Flint families ought to be as much of a priority as ensuring safe water and health for those who work on Capitol Hill.”