By Kylie Cheung, http://www.attn.com/
or the past few weeks, the eyes of the nation have been on the city of Flint, Michigan, and for good reason.
Last month, a state of emergency was declared over the city’s lead-contaminated water supply about a year after government officials switched Flint’s water source to the Flint River. Many have raised concerns about the severe long-term effects of lead poisoning on youth and the delay of action and lack of transparency from the city’s government has garnered criticism from politicians and advocates around the country.
However, new reports are revealing that other major U.S. cities have even higher lead exposure and more lead-affected children than Flint, and it’s not just water that’s the problem. Read more
By Bryce Covert, http://thinkprogress.org/
In emails obtained by The Flint Journal, local health officials in Flint accuse the administration of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) of withholding the results of lead testing in the city’s schools before making them public.
Flint switched its water source in April 2014 to the Flint River and failed to use corrosion controls, steps that are now known to have caused dangerous levels of lead to leach into the city’s water system. On October 2, 2015, a day after Snyder says he learned that there were elevated lead levels in the city, he initiated lead testing, including at the schools.
But the results of those tests weren’t released to the public for six days, despite the numerous health risks associated with consuming lead-contaminated water. In one of the emails, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, Jim Henry, the county’s environmental health supervisor, wrote, “MDEQ [the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality] explained that the Governor prohibited releasing all Genesee County lead results until after the press conference,” which took place on October 8.
In an interview this Wednesday with the Journal, Henry elaborated that Genessee County officials like him didn’t learn about the test results until they were distributed at the press conference. “They should have alerted the schools and they didn’t,” he said.
The tests, when made public, showed that three school district buildings tested above 15 parts of lead per billion, the threshold above which the Environmental Protection Agency recommends taking corrective action, although researchers say there is no safe level of lead. One school tested at 101 parts per billion, more than six times that level. Read more
By Gillian Mohney, http://abcnews.go.com/
As the contaminated water crisis continues in Flint, Michigan, health experts said they are working to ensure the youngest victims do not suffer through a lifetime of health effects from the exposure.
Lead is a known neurotoxin and is particularly harmful to young children whose neurological systems are still developing. Early lead exposure can have a lifetime of consequences, including lowered IQ, behavioral issues and developmental delays among others, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Flint, researchers found that the incidence of children with elevated lead levels in their blood more than doubled after the water crisis began, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health in December. Read more