I’ve been hearing about this from my people in Flint since September and it’s sad it’s finally coming to light… anyone involved should be locked up for at least a decade…
Flint, Michigan, residents are still at risk of lead poisoning if they drink the city’s water—a public health crisis that leaders have designated a state of emergency for the last month.
But research by the ACLU and Michigan Radio suggests that state officials ignored water test results over the summer of 2015 to hide evidence of abnormally high lead levels.
Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech engineering professor who is leading an independent study of the Flint water system, has documented a series of missteps the Department of Environmental Quality made as problems with the water quality began to surface.
For one, the state never required Flint to have a corrosion control program as required by federal law to control levels of lead in drinking water. The state also failed to set “quality parameters” for Flint’s new water source when the city switched to the Flint River in 2014 to save money.
When concerns about lead levels started to rise in February 2015, state officials denied that testing had produced any unusual results, despite results from the University of Michigan-Flint that found otherwise.
Edwards research also found that the state failed to follow up as required on homes that had samples with high levels of lead. Furthermore, they altered tests so that the levels would appear to fall below the federal limits of 15 parts per billion.
The Department of Environmental Quality continued insisting the water was safe, even when doctors at the Hurley Medical Center in Flint began telling the public to stop drinking Flint water after finding abnormally high levels of lead in the blood of children in September.
Since then, at least 43 more children have tested positive for lead poisoning in the city, according to the first batch of test results released last week.
In can be years before lead poisoning shows the extent of its damage, but consequences can result in learning disabilities and behavioral issues, as well as damaged organs and compromised immune systems.
The number of infants and children with above-average levels of lead in their system nearly doubled since the city stopped using the Detroit water system and moved to the Flint River in 2014, according to a study by the Hurley Medical Center.
Parents of children who may have been affected permanently filed a class-action lawsuit against the federal government. Last week, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Michigan confirmed it had opened an investigation around the state’s handling of the water contamination.