John Oliver Illustrates How Lead Poisoning In Water Is Widespread In The U.S. Beyond Flint

Yes, the Flint lead poisoning crisis is still going on, and John Oliver is here to remind you of that. On Last Week Tonight, he takes on the water crisis with his typically effective irreverence, because nothing drives home how effed up this crisis is like politicians drinking seemingly poisoned water to celebrate switching their public water supply to the polluted Flint River.

But this crisis is not only happening in Flint. Oliver cites a statistic in which lead poisoning is a problem in 2,000 additional water systems throughout the 50 states. And that’s not including the lead in paint that are still in many American children’s homes. What follows is an in-depth look on the lead crisis in America, making heavy use of irony. For instance, Oliver cites a report that estimates the cost of implementing interim lead controls in low-income households. That number is $230 million. Yet the government’s main program “to abate lead poisoning in housing” only got $110 million in funding this year, only a little more than how much Ride Along 2 made at the box office.

“Incidentally, the New York Post described [Ride Along 2] ‘as funny as lead poisoning,'” Oliver points out. That juxtaposition really drives the point home.