President Obama visited Flint today and told residents, “It’s not too much to expect for all Americans that their water is safe.”
Obama made the comments during a speech in the city on Wednesday, a few hours after he drank filtered Flint water after a briefing by federal officials on the city’s lead-contaminated water. He also requested a glass of filtered water during his speech, saying “I really did need a glass of water. This is not a stunt.”
The president vouched for the safety of certified filters and encouraged most city residents to start drinking filtered water instead of bottled water. “If you’re using a filter … then Flint water at this point is drinkable,” Obama said after taking a brief sip of filtered water, adding that the Environmental Protection Agency says using the filter makes the water safe and drinkable.
The only exception is pregnant women and children under 6, who should continue to use bottled water “out of an abundance of caution,” he said.
Good for Obama. He told them the truth: Flint water is safe to drink. My own take is that Flint water is safe for children too, but if I were president I suppose I might back off on that a little. A president’s words carry a bit more weight than a blogger’s. Still, residential testing shows that lead levels in Flint water have been well below 15 ppb since the beginning of the year. Obama is right about the precautions residents should take (flush your pipes, get blood tests for your kids, etc.), but the bottom line is that most Flint residents should feel comfortable drinking, cooking, and bathing with tap water.