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Petitioning Thomas Frieden and 2 others

Hold the CDC Accountable for Lying to DC Residents About Their Water

An investigation conducted by the House subcommittee on science and technology found that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) knowingly lied to Washington, D.C. residents about dangers in their drinking water. The CDC used flawed and incomplete data to show that elevated lead levels in tap water did not pose a public health risk. In reality, the toxin caused extremely high lead levels in residents' blood, and may continue to create problems today.

In 2004, nearly one million DC residents discovered that lead levels in their drinking water had spiked. While the CDC conducted an investigation into potential health risks, the agency, under the direction of study author Mary Jean Brown, misrepresented data to give the impression that lead-contaminated water was safe for children to drink.  The agency also failed to collect all the necessary blood samples before publishing the report and assessing the situation. Subsequent research by the agency showed a clear link between DC's water problems and lead poisoning in local children, a fact that the CDC chose not to disclose.

Elevated lead levels in blood can cause development problems for fetuses and children, so it's especially dangerous to kids and pregnant women. Tell the CDC that we won't allow it to knowingly deceive the public. Sign the below petition to demand Mary Jean Brown's resignation and a retraction of the CDC's findings.


Letter to
Thomas Frieden
Mary Jean Brown
Glen Nowak
The House subcommittee recently concluded that the CDC knowingly used flawed and incomplete data to show that lead in Washington, D.C.’s drinking water did not pose a public health problem. In reality, residents—particularly children—showed lead levels that were much higher than normal.

Elevated lead levels can cause brain damage and developmental problems in fetuses and children, so lead exposure is especially problematic for kids and pregnant women. The CDC has a responsibility to protect American citizens from dangerous toxins in drinking water, not present incorrect information suggesting that lead-contaminated water is safe for children.

Please hold CDC officials accountable for this egregious cover-up. Please make Mary Jean Brown resign and retract the CDC’s findings on lead in D.C.’s drinking water.

Sarah Parsons started this petition with a single signature, and now has 1,444 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.