Flint, Michigan has been struggling with a water crisis for some time now. Knowing that some of our readers and customers are from the Flint area, and of course our Flint store team, we would like to share an update on the situation.
Flint, Michigan Declares State of Emergency Due to High Lead Levels in Water Supply
On December 15th, Mayor Karen Weaver declared a State of Emergency for Flint, Michigan due to the high levels of lead present in the city’s water supply. Residents feel that this is long overdue, considering numerous individuals have experienced skin irritation, hair loss, memory issues, and high levels of lead in their bloodstreams due to the problems with the city’s water supply.
Since switching over the water supply from Detroit to the Flint River in an effort to reduce costs for the struggling city, the water has caused nothing but problems. Although city officials originally claimed that the water was safe to drink and this switch was only temporary, residents of Flint found the water to be cloudy and foul smelling. It was soon found that the water was in fact unsafe for consumption, and a boil-water advisory was issued last year because of bacteria levels.
Attempting to remove the bacteria from the water supply, chemicals were used to clean it. The now high levels of trihalomethane, a chlorine-byproduct known to be linked to a number of diseases and cancer, have made the water supply extremely corrosive, so much so that a local General Motors plant had to turn to alternate water sources because it was causing parts to rust. This corrosiveness also caused damage to the city’s pipes, many of which are older lead or lead sealed pipes, which released lead into the water supply.
According to the results of a study released in September of this year by the Hurley Medical Center in Flint, “the proportion of infants and children with above average levels of lead in their blood stream has nearly doubled” since the switch to the Flint River.
Lead exposure and poisoning can cause complications later in life, especially when exposed as children. These include serious neurological and developmental issues, behavioral effects, anemia, renal impairment, and toxicity to organs, many of these side effects being irreversible according to the World Health Organization.
Following these findings, the city did make the switch back to the Detroit water supply, however the damage was already done and lead levels remain high. City and State officials urge residents to refrain from drinking the water. If possible children, infants, and pregnant women especially should avoid tap water consumption entirely.
FEMA has been attempting to help the struggling city, bringing in gallons of bottled water, but it is unclear at this time whether the city will receive additional disaster aid.
If you have additional information or updates on the situation in Flint, feel free to comment on this post.