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By John Vibes | December 27, 2013 | 2:00am EST
Stillbirth rates in Washington, D.C., rose with two recent spikes in lead levels in drinking water.
WASHINGTON (INTELLIHUB) — In recent years it has become common knowledge that there are a wide range of contaminants in drinking water all over the United States. Many people write these facts off and insist that the amount of toxins are far too low to cause any damage.
However, evidence showing otherwise is surfacing on a regular basis. Recently a study in the Washington DC area showed that stillbirth rates actually rose with two spikes in lead levels in drinking water.
According to Science News, Virginia Tech environmental engineer Marc Edwards and colleagues, in an earlier study, tied a 2001–2004 increase in children’s blood lead levels to a switch in the chemical that Washington’s water authority uses to disinfect drinking water (SN Online: 1/27/2009). After 2004, when city officials warned the public and the utility distributed water filters, blood lead levels fell.
Long-established science suggests that the elevated lead levels should have also increased stillbirths, which are fetal deaths in the second half of the normal 40-week gestation period. The new study, published December 9 in Environmental Science & Technology, provides evidence that such an increase occurred during Washington’s lead crisis. Edwards found that in 2001, Washington’s annual fetal death rate jumped by 32–63 percent relative to the rates in 1997–1999; no comparable increase occurred in Baltimore, which did not suffer lead level spikes.
Water conditions in Washington DC and in the rest of the country are showing no signs of improving any time soon. While there have been isolated areas that have decided to remove fluoride from their water, many of these areas are still filled with pharmaceutical and toxic waste.
 Stillbirth rates tied to lead in drinking water – Science News