Since April 2014, lead-poisoned water has plagued the city of Flint, Michigan. Now, Flint is trying to recover, but its people and authorities are pressed for time and money for the return of clean water.
According to washingtonpost.com, residents of Flint have lived under conditions of poverty, crime, illness, and unemployment. The water crisis is an additional threat to Flint’s citizens.
Residents of the town wish to escape the hardship, but those who are elderly or poor do not have the means and the resources to leave, according to The New York Times.
About a month ago, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared a State of Emergency for Flint. Mayor Ms. Karen Weaver announced February 9 a 55 million dollar plan to replace residential lead pipes in the city, according to detroitnews.com. However, completely replacing Flint’s water delivery enterprise could cost up to 80 million dollars, a hefty price that the town cannot afford to pay.
The crisis first began almost two years ago when the city switched its water supplier to the Flint River. This new water did not have the benefits of added anti-corrosion chemicals, causing lead from pipes to leak into the water. In turn, the color of the water changed, as well as its smell. Residents became sick immediately and the situation resulted in 10 deaths with 87 people diagnosed with Legionnaire’s Disease, an intense type of pneumonia.
The city reverted back to Detroit water in October, but lead is still prevalent in the tap water. Approximately six to twelve thousand children have been exposed to lead poisoning since the beginning of the crisis, according to wnem.com.
Since the disclosure of Flint’s water as dangerous, pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha at the Hurley Medical Center in Flint has tested for lead poisoning in 1,700 children. She discovered that the amount of lead in the children’s blood had increased significantly since Flint switched to the Flint River for water supply, according to uspirg.org.
However, blood tests that attempt to gauge a lead reading are difficult to interpret due to the fact that within a few weeks, bones and organs absorb the lead, leaving little to travel through veins, according to The New York Times.
There are no immediate effects on children with lead poisoning, but this increased amount of lead in their systems can eventually lead to damage of the brain and nervous system along with lessened academic accomplishment, according to The New York Times.
Currently, there is no cure for lead poisoning. Yet, preventative approaches such as avoiding contaminated water and ingesting high amounts of vitamin C, iron, and calcium can be effective in preventing serious consequences, according to The New York Times.
Convent of the Sacred Heart students and faculty can help provide Flint with clean water through donating to the funds Flint Water Response Team, Flint Water Fund, Flint Child Health and Development Fund, Catholic Charities of Genesee County, and American Red Cross.
-Morgan Johnson, Co-News Editor