Tag Archives: water

Some help with the challenges of tracking down lead data

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Lead contamination continues to make headlines more than a year after the Flint municipal lead crisis in Michigan hit the national news. The public outcry over the government’s response to dealing with the Detroit suburb’s lead-contaminated water spurred reporters across the country to revisit lead issues for their audiences.

The problem goes beyond lead-tainted pipes that were contamination source in Flint. Continue reading

Administration’s regulatory roadblocks stymie dental guidelines

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: David Joyce via Flickr

At more than 100,000 offices and clinics across America, dentists stay busy placing and removing amalgam fillings as they care for their patients.

Dental amalgam – a mixture of metals such as silver, tin, copper and zinc bound together by mercury – is valued by clinicians for its workability, low cost and strength. Regulated as a medical device, dental amalgam is considered safe for most patients over the age of 6. Continue reading

San Jose, Calif., no longer nation’s largest city without fluoridated drinking water

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Darwin Bell via Flickr

Photo: Darwin Bell via Flickr

It took engineering and fundraising efforts as well as years of work by oral health and children’s advocates, but the Santa Clara Water District is finally providing fluoridated tap water to large sections of San Jose, Calif.

The sprawling city, with a population of more than 1 million, had been known as the largest metropolitan jurisdiction in the nation that lacked a fluoridated drinking water program. The decay-fighting mineral will be phased into water supplies as upgrades to the city’s water treatment plants are completed. Continue reading

Lead crisis shifts as infrastructure crumbles, experts say

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

A water crisis brewing in Flint, Mich., for nearly two years exposed children and others to lead from contaminated water. It also exposed health disparities from infrastructure. Glass of Water via photopin (license)

Photo: Glass of Water via Flickr

A year after the Flint water crisis made national waves, the legacy of lead continues to draw attention as reporters follow up on the evolving public health concern.

What was once a public battle over perception as manufacturers’ inundated products with lead – from gasoline to painted cribs, toys and houses – has shifted to a more subtle, but no less serious disaster, according to public health historians Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner. Continue reading

Review of EPA data leads USA Today to towns with contaminated water

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Ryan Garza, USA Today NetworkLee Anne Walters of Flint, Mich., pours gallons of bottled water into a bucket and pan to warm up for her twin sons to take a weekly bath. Her son, Gavin, 4, looking on, has been diagnosed with lead poisoning. The photograph ran as part of USA Today’s investigation into lead levels nationwide, beyond the crisis in the Detroit suburb.

Photo: Ryan Garza, USA Today NetworkLee Anne Walters of Flint, Mich., pours gallons of bottled water into a bucket and pan to warm up for her twin sons to take a weekly bath. Her son, Gavin, 4, looking on, has been diagnosed with lead poisoning. The photograph ran as part of USA Today’s investigation into lead levels nationwide, beyond the crisis in the Detroit suburb.

Yes, database websites can seem clunky, and government data can seem hopelessly riddled with errors.

But searching, downloading and analyzing it – specifically EPA records on drinking water – led USA Today to a blockbuster front-page story that not only drew attention to the threat of lead contamination beyond the crisis in Flint, Mich., but also stirred residents to action.

Mark Nichols, who shared the byline with Alison Young at the paper, was the force behind the number crunching. Continue reading