Lead in Water Supply Causes Public Health Emergency in Flint Michigan
Public Health Emergency
Water contaminated with lead has caused a public health emergency in Flint, Michigan. People have been complaining for months about the taste and smell of the water since the city broke away from Detroit’s public water system, and began to use water from the Flint River. Unfortunately, Flint children have been experiencing elevated blood levels of lead as a result. The Flint River was supposed to be an interim source until the city could join a new system getting water from Lake Huron.
Lead contamination usually comes from old lead pipes. In Flint, the combination of the river water, which is treated, yet corrosive, is stripping the lead from pipes and ending up in drinking cups. Lead poisoning can occur over months or years. There is no safe amount of lead. At high levels, lead can be fatal. Sadly, symptoms of lead poisoning do not usually show up until dangerous amounts have accumulated.
Symptoms of Lead Poisoning
Symptoms of lead poisoning in children include:
• Sluggishness and fatigue
• Developmental delay
• Abdominal pain
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Learning difficulties
• Hearing loss
Signs of lead poisoning in adults include the following symptoms:
• High blood pressure
• Abdominal pain
• Joint pains
• Muscle pain
• Declines in mental functioning
• Pain, numbness or tingling of the extremities
• Memory loss
• Mood disorders
• Reduced sperm count, abnormal sperm
• Miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women
Children & Infants At Risk
In Flint, residents were told that infants and children should not drink the water. Additionally, those who are pregnant or who have respiratory conditions should avoid drinking Flint water. Not only have residents complained of odor, taste and smell, but also of rashes and hair loss. A GM plant stopped using the water due to the rust it was causing.
While the water itself passes federal safety guidelines, it is the mixture of the water with the lead pipes or pipes soldered with lead that is the real problem. Doctors have reported high levels of lead in children and everyone is looking for answers. Many residents had wanted to return to using Detroit’s water system, which they did in October. The GM Foundation and United Way have donated $105,000 to residents to buy filters for 5,000 residents. Free water testing is available to all residents.
Lead Is A Neurotoxin
The most painful part of lead poisoning is knowing that some damage may be irreversible. Lead is a neurotoxin that affects your brain. It is believed that exposure to lead can reduce a child’s IQ. This puts extra burden on society as well as some will need additional medical, school or government assistance. Some will experience problems with violence and aggressive behavior.
” A 30 year follow-up study in Boston found that even low level exposure to lead during childhood – that is, at or below the U.S. level of concern of 10 µg/dL – may impair adult cognitive function enough to lower IQ scores.” (source: environmental health news)
Water Distillers Remove Lead
Those with water distillers would not have been affected by lead in the water. The process of distillation removes lead, among many other contaminants. Water distillers provide owners with peace of mind because they are able to produce 99.9% pure water. Compare the cost of a distiller to the cost of long term care or irreversible damage or cancer due to toxin exposure, and it is clear that a distiller is an excellent choice.
Distillation Provides Safe Water
As with Flint, many contamination events are found out later, after the fact. Some contaminants cannot be boiled out of water, they are only concentrated by boiling. Others are not removed by a simple carbon filter or even reverse osmosis. Only distillation, mimicking the natural hydrologic cycle, removes nearly all toxins. You just can find cleaner water that is consistently safe for you and your family!