While the water crisis in Flint, Michigan may appear to be one of the most disastrous the country has ever seen, according to reports from Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, the city doesn’t even have the highest level of lead poisoning found in children.
Other cities such as Grand Rapids, Jackson, Detroit, Saginaw, Muskegon, and Holland all found lead levels in children “at percentages well above the numbers that raised red flags in Flint.”
According to The Detroit News, in Grand Rapids, “nearly 1 in 10 children of those tested in four ZIP codes tested positive in 2014,” while in Detroit, nearly 1,000 of 7,263 children tested positive for lead.
This is shocking information that clearly proves Flint is symptomatic of a larger problem in the state, and possibly the country. In Serbing, Ohio, residents learned only days ago that “high levels of lead were detected in some homes over the summer” due to investigation by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. In a disturbing trend, the Serbing Village Manager claims he had no knowledge of the issue, but “a letter released by the Ohio EPA showed that he was told in December.”
It appears little is being done to actually change the situation, particularly in Flint. The reason for the lead poisoning was due to corroded lead pipes that their water supply flowed through, yet Michigan governor Rick Snyder has stated that the pipes will not be replaced anytime soon.
“In terms of short-term, it’s a lot of work to take out pipes, to redo all of the infrastructure, that’s a whole planning process,” said Snyder.
Instead, Flint is focusing on providing bottled water to its residents, many of whom live in low-income communities. Yet this strategy cannot last—it’s both expensive and does not solve issues of bathing, washing, and cooking. The New York Times reports that the cost of replacing the pipes could be a colossal $1.5 billion, although that is Flint’s only long-term solution.
Banner Image Credit: Reuters