John Oliver & the 'Sesame Street' Gang Want Us to Prevent a Flint-Style Lead Crisis From Harming Our Kids


When we hear about any kind of poison making its way into kids' bodies, we get mighty concerned -- and rightly so. That's why we saw so much talk about Flint, Michigan, earlier this year, and it's also why we saw some steps that could maybe actually look like a solution. But as John Oliver explained in his segment with Seseame Street on Last Week Tonight, those steps weren't enough. The lead problem is way more dangerous and way more widespread than policy makers want to admit -- and we really need to care more to get something done.


The story about the Flint politicians who knew about the lead in the water and watched it poison their constituents while they just kind of ... thought about something else is enormously terrifying -- and honestly the root of the reason why we so strongly dislike having to put trust in politicians.

More from The StirFlint Mom Shares the Heartbreak of Giving Her Kids Poisoned Water

Their failings put thousands of Flint residents in danger, and Oliver explains that this is happening on a larger scale across the country. Congress seems resoundingly unwilling to put money behind eliminating other threats of lead poisoning, and that leaves lead in water, lead in paint dust, and lead in our children -- which, even at trace amounts, can damage their IQs and sociability, among other things.

It's quite literally poison. As Oliver points out, Congress is very eager to talk about how terrible it is and, at the same time, vote against bills that would put money toward testing for and eliminating lead from pipes and paint.

To emphasize how absurd (and absurdly dangerous) it is that this is still a problem, Oliver showed a clip from an episode of Sesame Street 20 years ago that warned of the dangers of lead. Then he went to the Street itself to visit with our old pals and break the news that we still haven't fixed this. The gang crafted a catchy tune telling us to pull our sh-t together and care about this.

More from The StirThe Governor of Michigan Belongs Behind Bars, Not Behind a Desk Making 'Plans' for Flint's Water

We can hope this'll make it to the ears of Congress and get stuck in their heads forever -- then, maybe, we'll actually get something done.

Here's the full segment, if you're interested in getting righteously angry, deeply informed, and heartily entertained all at once:


Image via LastWeekTonight/YouTube

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