(NaturalNews) In April 2014, Flint, Michigan, made the switch from Detroit’s water supply to the Flint River to save some money. Almost immediately after making the switch residents noticed a change in their tap water quality.
Numerous complaints came in about cloudy, discolored, smelly water. It tasted bad and caused skin rashes. A local General Motors engine plant even stopped using it, as it saw its parts becoming rusty.
Nevertheless, officials kept reassuring the people that the water was safe and drinkable.
Safe and drinkable?
Early lab tests told a whole different story. The water of the Flint River was shown to be dangerously corrosive to city pipes. Against all odds, the state decided corrosion control was not needed to treat the river water, so lead from the pipes leached into the tap water for months.
It also tested positive for fecal coliform bacteria, also known as E. coli. Therefore, the city issued several boiling steps to get rid of the bacteria. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that heating water increased the lead concentration even more.
Alarming increase in childhood lead poisoning recorded
In September 2014, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Flint pediatrician, reported an alarming increase in childhood lead poisoning, which started just after the switch to river water.
Lead is a powerful neurotoxin. It can lead to severe long-term health issues, which especially affect the developing brains of our children. The CDC says there is no safe level of lead exposure.
According to the World Health Organization, “lead affects children’s brain development resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral changes such as shortening of attention span and increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational attainment. Lead exposure also causes anemia, hypertension, renal impairment, immunotoxicity and toxicity to the reproductive organs. The neurological and behavioral effects of lead are believed to be irreversible.”
They knew and kept silent
Recently, Virginia Tech researcher, Marc Edwards, who helped lead a team that tested water samples of nearly 300 homes in the city, discovered the horrible truth that Michigan state officials knew Flint’s water supply was responsible for giving children lead poisoning, and possibly causing an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that has left at least 10 people dead.
Several emails have come to light which prove that Michigan state officials were well aware of the risks for human health, but didn’t feel the urge to respond and take action.
Edwards wrote, “After missing warning signs of spiking childhood lead poisoning that occurred a few months after switching to a corrosive river water source in 2014, outside pressure forced officials at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to closely scrutinize their data in July 2015. They discovered scientifically conclusive evidence of an anomalous increase in childhood lead poisoning in summer 2014 immediately after the switch in water sources, but stood by silently as Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) officials repeatedly and falsely stated that no spike in blood lead levels (BLL) of children had occurred.”
And this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Remember the major water lead crisis in Washington, D.C. several years ago?
Apparently the authorities have not learnt from the past. Again, it took a huge amount of effort for citizens to expose the threat and demand that something be done to protect public health.
“This experience has really shattered my trust in government,” said Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. “It’s not that I was naive to start with, but you’d expect that utilities, states, federal agencies would take their jobs seriously and try to protect people rather than deliberately mislead, lie and make up excuses not to protect public health.”
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Written by Amy Goodrich
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