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Department of Health
Summary of actions the Department has taken on lead in water
February 25, 2004




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February 25, 2004

Department of Health
Office of the Director

Summary of Actions the Department of Health has taken since the last LEAD hearing

1. Two community meetings with WASA and others on the evenings of Tuesday, Feb. 17th (2nd and C St. SE) and Wednesday Feb 18th (3660 Alabama Avenue SE) with two more planned between Feb 26 and March 2" a. Several members of DOH present at both meetings to answer questions related to health issues and lead.

2. The DOH Director, James Buford, called a special meeting with all DOH members involved with lead issues, including Dr. Stokes, Mr. Collier, Dr. Knuckles, Dr. Faggett, Vera Jackson, myself, (and other DOH members) to optimize the DOH planning and response to anticipated lead-related issues.

3. Dr. Maurice Knuckles, Director of the DOH Laboratory (300 Indiana Avenue) rapidly increased the DOH Laboratory capability to measure blood lead levels. If funding to purchase the laboratory materials ("reagents") required to measure blood levels is provided, and a service contract for the equipment should it need repair is provided, then blood lead levels from 136 persons can be measured every 24 hours. A contract is in place with another regional laboratory to measure additional samples if our DOH laboratory capacity of 136/day is exceeded.

4. Consultation with an expert on lead from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Mary Jean Brown. On Monday, Feb 16a' I contacted the Director of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding, to request consultation with an expert on lead. Early the next morning the DOH was called by Dr. Brown and Dr. Meehan, the Deputy Director of the CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances and Drug Registry (ATSDR). Daily phone discussions followed and on Tuesday, Feb 24th Dr. Brown arrived at the DC DOH for a 48-hour onsite visit.

5. Partial activation of the DC EMA Thursday night, February 19, by the City Administrator, following the weekly DC Lead Task force meeting that afternoon.

6. Meeting with Dr. Jerome Paulson, DC expert on lead and pediatrician, along with Dr. Brown, at the DC DOH on February 24th.

7. Completion today of a two page letter from the DOH (submitted at this hearing) to the approximately 23,000 DC residences likely to have a lead service line.

8. Continuation of the DOH efforts, directed by Dr. Stokes, begun before the last hearing to reach the approximately 175 DC residences with water lead levels above 300 parts per billion (ppb). Free blood lead levels are offered to children under the age of six years and to pregnant women.

9. Multiple meetings and phone conversations with the Water and Sewer Authority (WASA), including at their DC headquarters with experts from the George Washington School of Public Health.

10. Meeting on Friday, February 20th, with DC Public Schools, and WASA, to discuss testing of water for lead in the schools.

Daniel R. Lucey, M.D., M.P.H. Interim Chief Medical Officer DC Department of Health

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