Lead placement, a critical industry standard for water quality, is falling to an all-time low, according to the latest data.
The Lead In Water Standard (LIS) was first established in 1997, and was supposed to improve the quality of drinking water.
In 2015, after the US government cut the amount of lead allowed in tap water by half, it was put into effect for all Americans.
“The standard has fallen by nearly a third since the standard was last revised in 2015,” said Tom Moulds, the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
“The average consumer, especially those who drink tap water, are now aware that there is no safe level of lead.”
The decline in lead exposure is alarming, he said, as lead levels in drinking water are still increasing.
“It is also very concerning that there are more people living in Flint, Michigan, than any other US city.”
Lead exposure, or lead exposure to a person if they have high blood lead levels, can lead to severe health problems and cognitive problems.
This can lead people to develop other health problems, such as developmental delays.
Lead in water can also damage brain tissue, and lead exposure has been linked to ADHD and other behavioural problems.
The government set a target of halving lead levels to 0.5 parts per million in tapwater by 2020, but the target was not met.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there were 462,000 elevated blood lead level in Flint in January, down from 1.1 million in December.
Lead exposure in the US is also falling, and the government has been making some improvements in terms of protecting people from exposure.
But, according a new report, the number of homes that have lead pipes has increased in some areas in the Midwest, even as the city has fallen to the bottom of the list for lead exposure.
“In many areas, the numbers have increased over the last several years,” said the report.
“The numbers continue to increase and are now almost as high as in the cities of Detroit and Flint, as the number and severity of the problems has become worse.”
The report by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that the percentage of new homes built in the past decade in metro Detroit was 10.4 per cent higher than in metro Flint, the most recent data available.
“If we want to keep these neighborhoods clean and safe, we need to get them built right,” said Mould.
In 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared Flint, which was then under a federal lead-contaminated water contamination crisis, a Level 3 Superfund site.
The agency also declared all homes in the city a Level 4 Superfund facility, meaning the government requires they be removed from the property.
The EPA’s announcement came after years of criticism from residents and activists.
Flint residents have been calling for an investigation into lead contamination in the community.
The city was rated Level 1 for lead in 2014 and Level 2 in 2015.
Mould said there are currently no federal regulations in place to monitor the lead levels of homes built before the standards were introduced, meaning there are few people who have tested for lead levels.
“We do have a lot of information on that, but it’s not going to be easy for the government to collect that data and make sure it’s safe,” he said.
Molds said the government could do a better job educating the public about the risks posed by lead in drinking-water, and how to protect themselves from the harmful effects.
“I think we need a lot more information and education, but we also need to take steps to make sure the water quality standards are maintained,” he told ABC Radio.
“And then we need more people who are willing to test themselves, to test their water, to go and do that.”
Lead in tap and bottled water is a major problem, as it can leach from the pipes and affect human health.
The CDC estimates that more than half of Americans have elevated blood levels of lead, but Mould said he would like to see the standard be lowered to a safe level for all.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen for a long time,” he explained.
“There’s no way to be sure that there’s a safe standard, but if you can make the standards a little bit lower and make it a little less stressful for businesses, you can probably make it happen.”
The US has been using lead-free water for decades.
However, the lead in tap was found in the water in Flint at a rate that is far higher than what would be expected from a simple water change.
The lead in water standard was introduced in 1997 and was meant to improve drinking water quality.
In 2016, after a half-billion-dollar lead-paint ban was