COMEDY

John Oliver Explains The Lead Crisis... With A 'Sesame Street' Song

"We can't just act like it's not there the way we all pretend that the public swimming pool is not 3 percent child's urine."

The lead crisis in Flint, Michigan was "a perfect storm of incompetence from start to finish," according to John Oliver on HBO's "Last Week Tonight." 

But the problem isn't limited to Flint: A USA Today report found lead in almost 2,000 water systems spanning all 50 states.

"We can't just act like it's not there the way we all pretend that the public swimming pool is not 3 percent child's urine," Oliver said. "And that's generous, by the way."

Even removing all lead pipes -- even removing lead from all water -- won't do much to solve the problem. As Oliver points out, more than 2.1 million children live in homes with a lead dust hazard, usually from paint -- and as a result, the CDC estimates that 535,000 children have elevated lead levels in their system.

"Lead is almost as much of a scourge in young children's homes as 'Frozen' merchandise," he said. "Why do you need three Olafs and a Singing Elsa, McKenzie? #LetLetItGoGo!" 

So what can we do about it? 

Plenty... if we're willing to spend the money. 

Decades ago, "Sesame Street" did a segment warning children of the dangers of lead paint. 

Today, Oliver recruited some of the residents of "Sesame Street" to revisit the topic and help explain why saving America's children from being poisoned is a worthwhile government investment.  

Even Oscar the Grouch gets in on the act: 

Check it out in the clip above... and don't forget to #LetLetItGo

The Huffington Post and WNYC recently covered the story of one New York family whose 1-year-old daughter registered an alarmingly high amount of lead in her system, enough to cause developmental disabilities if untreated.

The investigation found lead poisoning cases like this are not an uncommon occurrence in the New York City area.

HuffPost

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