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HUD Lead Standards 'Indefensible,' Durbin Says

Dick Durbin
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Fallout continues from the lead contamination of the water supply in Flint, Michigan.

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is among the Democratic lawmakers pushing for a series of new laws in response to the crisis.

Durbin says while lead poisoning rates have fallen over the past few decades, the risk disproportionately affects minority children living in federally subsidized housing.

Because of that, he says the lead rules of one particular government agency are “indefensible."

“The Department of Housing and Urban Development has a different acceptability standard for lead … in the bloodstream, than many other agencies," Durbin says. "In fact, it’s four times the level."

Durbin says his legislation would require HUD to meet the more stringent standard of the Centers for Disease Control.

Another Democratic proposal calls for a decade-long push to improve the nation’s water infrastructure. That plan carries a price tag of $70 billion.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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