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4% of the children of Flint, Michigan have lead contamination in their blood (NBC). Researches feel the problem could have been taken care of for as little as $100 a day, yet officials in the City of Flint did nothing for the 100,000 residents who pay their water bills. In April of 2014, Flint started drawing water from the Flint River, and not Detroit, a move that was originally promised as temporary. In October of 2014, a General Motors engine plant stopped using Flint’s water because it rusts parts, supposedly, which means it must be very acidic.
January 2015, Flint fights back, demanding that Detroit’s water not be used. By January 28, Flint residents got 200 water bottles, which are given away for free. February 3, state officials officially beg for $2 million dollars sent to resolve the crisis. By March 19, 2015, the city pledges to spend $2.24 million dollars on improvements to their water supply. On September 24, 2015, the local doctors decided to stop using Flint River water after uncovering lead contamination in children’s blood. On September 29, 2015, Governor Rick Snyder plans to deal with this problem, too little, too late. By October 15, 2015, the Michigan legislators approve $9.4 million dollars. Then with 2016 around the corner, Snyder declares a state of emergency in Flint, Michigan, with officials investigating. Then on January 16, 2016, President Obama signs emergency declaration ordering federal aid for Flint, Michigan.
This huge, unprecedented water crisis hit Flint very hard because of the “systematic breakdown in 2014 of regulatory control of the Flint, Michigan public water system and the resulting serious lead contamination of the drinking water of thousands of Flint residents” (72). How did things in Flint get so messy? The Safe Drinking Water Act means that water for drinking, bathing or cooking has to be free of contamination, but officials in Flint, Michigan dropped the ball on that need to fix the water crisis, caused by “old lead pipes under city streets send drinking water to urban faucets” (171). City officials really didn’t think this was a huge, damaging crisis for the people of Flint, Michigan. The State certainly didn’t either. However, switching back to the Detroit water is safer for residents to use. Snyder recently stated that the state would no longer provide free bottled water to the city’s residents, although they would be able to get free water filters.
The city’s residents still do not feel the water is safe, however, if only because they know better. The grand cover-up is that the Feds are not doing anything about the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Lead is a neurotoxin that is very difficult to remove. Per the Mayo Clinic, children with lead poisoning show the following symptoms such as developmental delay, learning difficulties, irritability, loss of appetite, weight loss, sluggish energy and fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, hearing loss, seizures, and eating things that aren’t food (Pica). Babies with lead poisoning are born premature, have a lower birth rate, and slowed growth. Adults suffering from lead poisoning have high blood pressure, joint and muscle pain, difficulties with memory and concentration, a headache, abdominal pain, mood disorders, reduced sperm count, and sperm that isn’t quite right. Pregnant women can miscarry, or have a stillbirth or a premature birth. Lead is found on this planet in the crust, so as such, it is a natural element. Lead was once abundant in paint and used with imported canned goods which some countries still use. Lead can be found in soil, household dust, pottery, toys, cosmetics, herbal remedies, Mexican candy, lead bullets, and as an occupational hazard, auto repair, mining, pipe fitting, battery manufacturing, painting, construction, and more. Pollution really does cause illness, depending on whether Lake Huron is more or less clean or the Flint River is as dirty as they say.
Hill, Pamela. Environmental Protection: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press. 2017. (72), (171).