Fellows in the News


Angel Hsu

YOU HAVE NO real way of knowing if your town, your family, or your children face the kind of water contamination that exposed everyone in Flint, Michigan, to lead poisoning. Not because Flint is an outlier–it may, in fact, be the norm—but because no one has enough data to say for sure.


Private property owners have no obligation to test their taps, a situation that includes privately owned wells serving small towns across the country. That said, if private property owners do detect lead in their water systems, they must address it. That can quickly get expensive. For that reason, most property owners skip testing entirely, says Angel Hsu, director of the Data-driven Environmental Group at Yale University. (The same problem applies to lead paint, another common cause of childhood poisoning.)

“This problem demonstrates the need for a federal program to underwrite lead clean-up,” Hsu says. “Cash-strapped people and municipal governments do not have the resources necessary to remedy such a broad and persistent hazard.”

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