"Idiots" is a strong word considering some of the water infrastructure is well over 100 years old in this country. People were still using lead in pipes in the past decades, the issue here isn't actually directly the use of lead. They switched to water that was corrosive, this ate away at the built up mineral deposits over the lead (and everything else). Then the lead crept in. The water wasn't coming from the source with too much lead. There is another interesting case out of Baltimore where when they switched to chloramine from chlorine as their treatment agent, it ended up leeching huge amounts of lead out of old pipes. Most people have no idea about pipe construction materials, and generally just use what comes out of the tap. If you are in an apartment, how do you even begin to check all that piping for lead solder anyway? I personally lived in a place that had peeling lead paint from the ceiling for a few years, and I do think it had some negative effects. I'm thankful I wasn't a child at the time, as they are much more sensitive to lead.