Jessica Nischik-Long, MPH, Executive Director Oregon Public Health Association

“There is maybe nothing more fundamental to ensuring human health than access to clean drinking water. In America, and especially in Oregon, we often take this for granted. We have grown up knowing that the water that comes out of our taps is safe for us to drink, cook with and bathe in. Recently, weaknesses in our aging water distribution system have become national news as entire cities and school children have been exposed to lead. This exposure is serious, and public health professionals know that there is no safe level of lead exposure.

Oregon is lucky to have had forward thinking leadership when our state was just getting started that protected the watersheds around our drinking water sources. It is critical that we maintain this strict protection to ensure that contaminants do not enter our drinking water. We also need to face the fact that our distribution system is also very old in many parts of the state. We will be better off if we address these needed repairs now rather than waiting until another crisis arises. Losing access to drinking water is expensive and an enormous burden on people. Let’s work together to remind our leaders that maintaining and protecting this system is critical to ensuring the health of all.”