Flint, Michigan Water Crisis

For my Environmental Toxicology class, I have to write a letter to the editor on a scholarly journal article that was published. I found this article about the Flint, Michigan Water Crisis. According to the article, it was interesting to see how it all started. The city of Flint was originally getting their water supply from Lake-Huron. The pipe that was supplying water, needed to be replaced, so the city decided to switch over to getting their water supply from the Flint River. The city decided to go with this switch because it was temporary and cheaper. Turns out that this was not the way to go because residents were complaining of water changes, taste, odor and various health issues. When the pipes were examined, it showed that there was a large amount of lead in the water because lead pipes were being used in the Flint River. Another problem that contributed to the Flint Michigan water crisis was that the area is not the best because people are dealing with poor nutrition and poverty. Since children’s bodies are already lacking the nutrients that they need for survival, the concentrations of lead are bound to increase even more.

The study was mainly focused on children who were ages five and younger. It proved that there were health effects associated with the water because of the presence of lead. Children were tested before the water pipe was changed and then after and the results showed that they were affected by the change in pipes. The article stated that the Dose-Response Relationship for children 1-5, showed that for every 1ppb increase in water, the blood-lead level increases 35%. This is really high because children already absorb about 40-50% of lead compared to adults who absorb 3-10%. I am curious to know why the city didn’t examine the pipes before making the switch or replacing them years ago instead of waiting until now?

Lead is one of the chemicals that have serious health effects on everyone. I think the only good thing that it does is protect us from radiation, because it acts as a “wall” so that the radiating energy does not harm our bodies. In order to try and reduce the contact that we have with lead, we should try to remove it from paint, pipes and anywhere else it may be. So definitely double-check everything, to prevent health issues. It is important to understand the health effects of lead because if not caught immediately, it can lead to cancer and possibly death.


One comment

  1. andrewwingfield · May 5, 2016

    The Flint water crisis is a really powerful case study for sustainability because it shows the connection between environmental and social equity issues.


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