Water system modernization brings lead risk

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As Chicago moves to modernize its aging water system, a new health hazard is emerging.

The pipes that connect individual buildings to the water lines are made of lead; and the EPA is warning, when those pipes are disturbed during water main replacements, dangerous levels of lead are turning up in some homes’ drinking water.

Lead is considered so toxic that the government won’t even mandate a safe level of it; and federal rules don’t require utility companies to warn people about repair and modernization projects that can endanger the health of their users.

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