On last night’s episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” host John Oliver spent most of the episode discussing America’s lead problem. In the main segment, Oliver starts by talking about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, but then Oliver goes on to discuss how the lead crisis extends far beyond Flint. “A USA Today Network report found lead contamination in almost 2,000 additional water systems spanning all 50 states,” says Oliver, and that’s just the beginning. There’s also the problem of lead paint from past decades that still exists in many homes across the country, especially in older housing or housing with absentee landlords. Though Oliver discusses how “each dollar spent on lead paint hazard control would bring back at least $17 in societal benefits,” he goes one step further and enlists Elmo, Rosita, and Oscar the Grouch from “Sesame Street” to help him preach the dangers of lead poisoning. Watch the full segment above, and watch Oliver with the “Sesame Street” gang at 14:20.
As Oliver points out in the segment, this is actually the second time “Sesame Street” has tackled the lead problem. Twenty years ago, the long-running children’s show produced a video to teach kids how to deal with lead in their homes. It’s a sad reality that that same lesson still needs to be taught to kids even to this day. Fortunately, John Oliver is here to shine a light on the problem.
“Last Week Tonight” airs Sunday nights at 11pm Eastern time.