Flint’s ongoing water crisis has gained national attention, though the situation is still far from being resolved. But lead contamination isn’t relegated to that Michigan city, which is why it became the most prominent talking point on last night’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. The host added his voice to a decades-old tune about the dangers of lead poisoning, which compelled the Sesame Street gang to sing a song instructing kids on how to limit their exposure back in 1996.
The host ran through the country’s misguided (and once-fiercely lobbied) use of lead in household items and furnishings, including paint. But while “stop poisoning kids” just sounds like common sense, lawmakers have balked—BALKED—at the actual costs of doing so. Congress won’t fully fund measures to remove lead or abate it from our homes, despite recommendations from federal agencies like the EPA and the CDC. So Oliver enlisted some old friends—who are, incidentally, his new neighbors—to urge Congress to get the lead out of our homes. Elmo’s squirreled away almost $2 to contribute to the cause, but hundreds of millions more are needed. So he joins Oliver, Rosita, and Oscar The Grouch in entreating viewers to at least care about what’s going on. It’s no Duck And Cover, but it’s pretty catchy.