National Drinking Water Alliance Hosts Educational Briefing for Congressional Staff and Stakeholders

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  On Tuesday, the National Drinking Water Alliance brought together three subject matter experts – Dr. William Dietz, Chair of the Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at George Washington University; Vice Admiral Manson Brown, USCG (retired), and Tom Neltner, and engineer and attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund– to discuss the need to improve national tap water safety and infrastructure, feasible policy options to solve this problem, and identify benefits in public health.

Dr. Dietz focused his remarks on the health consequences of continuing to allow children to drink so many sugared drinks (soft drinks, sports drinks, juices, flavored milks) rather than helping them to increase their water intake.  As of the most recent studies, 36% of liquid intake for children under the age of 18 is consumed through sugared drinks.  This can lead to obesity, diabetes, oral health problems, bone health issues, gout, and kidney stones.

VADM Brown noted that 70% of young adults between the ages of 17 and 24 cannot be taken into the military services for a variety of reasons, with excess weight being the leading cause.  He advocated for providing safe drinking water in our schools as a key to improved health.  He also noted that water consumption is an effective anti-obesity tool.

Mr. Neltner explained that “water is transparent” and taken for granted by the American public.  He called on Congress to fund Federal legislation to meet drinking water needs.  Neltner referenced the six aspects of EPA’s Drinking Water Action Plan (promoting equity in funding access – especially for disadvantaged communities; advanced oversight of SDWA implementation; strengthened source water protection); addressing unregulated contaminants such as HABs and PFAs; striving for transparent public education and information access; and reduced risks from lead in drinking water.  He stated that Congress must act.

The National Drinking Water Alliance is a network of organizations and individuals across the country working to ensure that all children in the U.S. can drink safe water in the places where they live, learn and play. NDWA’s website is the nationwide clearinghouse for essential drinking water research and resources.  More information can be found at www.DrinkingWaterAlliance.org