BY Sifat Mahbub
An outbreak of lead poisoning has prompted Rutgers Dining Services has issued a recall on all reusable water bottles. The water bottles were distributed this semester to every student with a meal plan as part of an effort to reduce waste, as styrofoam cups are no longer available for takeout. However, following the hospitalization of multiple Rutgers students, the university has requested that all bottles be returned immediately.
Initial reports of lead poisoning began about one month ago, when freshman Nicole Walters was rushed to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital after complaining of severe abdominal pains. Once admitted, several tests concluded that the young woman had a high level of lead in her blood, and has been in the intensive care unit since. The physicians were not too concerned until 20 more students were admitted in the following weeks with symptoms similar to Walters. After questioning the students and ruling out possible causes of the poisonings, RWJ reached out to Rutgers in order to inform them of the situation.
The decision to recall the water bottles came once Rutgers officials admitted that the bottles were not made of aluminum but rather an aluminum lead alloy.
Due to the rising costs of aluminum, the university reportedly wanted to save money and opted to for the alloy bottles. While lead is much cheaper to produce and buy, longterm exposure to the metal is risky and is often avoided altogether.
When asked for a comment, President Barchi stated, “We deeply regret our ill-informed decision regarding the water bottles. We wish the students a speedy recovery and are sending them positive vibes. However, can you really blame us for wanting to save money? Do you fucking see how much money we lose every year because of football? We have a $30 million football deficit just so some illiterate douchebags can throw a ball, lose games, and fuck naive freshmen. Sometimes you gotta make sacrifices.”
The University will be placing receptacles all around the campuses in the next few days, in order to collect the water bottles. As for the students who have been suffering from the poisonings, they are still in the ICU at Robert Wood Johnson, and doctors say they will soon be dead.