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Getting Answers: Michigan lawmaker tells CBS News Congress needs to do more to fix America's water crisis

Another Michigan city experiencing water crisis
Another Michigan city experiencing lead water crisis 02:18

A third city in Michigan has been found to have high levels of lead in its water. The town of Hamtramck, in Detroit, joins Benton Harbor and Flint as the latest place to have dangerous drinking water.

Last week, a resident of Benton Harbor told CBS News that she uses bottled water for everything from cooking, to brushing her teeth, and even bathing.

Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has been pushing to get more money to fix the problem.

"I'm here and I'm moving with a sense of urgency," she told CBS News.

In her state, more than 75% of kids tested have detectable levels of lead in their blood.

Tlaib said she is frustrated because she doesn't think there's enough money to replace all of America's lead pipes in the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan.

"We know when we see $15 billion only in the bipartisan infrastructure bill, we saw who put that together," Tlaib said. "We saw the folks that don't look like us that put that together. And when we talk about equitable distribution, $15 billion is not going to get us closer to that."

Tlaib said it's not enough money to help Black and Brown communities, like the city of Benton Harbor, which is predominantly Black.

"It's communities like ours that continue to be left behind," she said. "But we know with more funding, we have a better chance."

But Tlaib says in order to get lead out of the country's water, Congress needs to pass both bills being debated because there's an additional $30 billion for lead pipe replacement in the original Build Back Better plan. That amount, she feels, "gets us closer to truly getting lead out of water."

And this isn't just a problem in Michigan. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates 6-10 million homes across the country have lead service lines. According to the nonprofit American Water Works Association, it would take an estimated $60 billion to replace all lead service lines in the U.S.

According to the EPA, there is no known safe level of lead in a child's blood. Negative health effects of drinking water contaminated with lead can include behavioral issues, lower IQ, hyperactivity, slowed growth, anemia, cardiovascular effects, decreased kidney function and reproductive problems.   

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