Miller Letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius Regarding the Lead-in-Water Crisis in Washington, D.C.
August 3, 2009
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Hubert Humphrey Building
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20201
Dear Secretary Sebelius:
The Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight is investigating several issues related to the 2003-2004 lead in water crisis in Washington, D.C. We have been particularly interested in the role played by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I previously sent letters requesting documents to Dr. Richard Besser, then-CDC’s acting director, in March and April of this year.
You may recall that The Washington Post broke a story in January 2004 revealing that D.C. and federal authorities knew that houses serviced by lead lines were carrying water into homes with lead levels as much as 20 times above that allowed under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The CDC joined other Federal agencies in responding to this public health crisis and published a paper in March 2004, coauthored by CDC officials, which suggested there was no danger to children or the public from the elevated lead levels in water. With that CDC publication, the public’s concern for this issue died down.