Research Shows Flint Children’s Blood Lead Levels Were High Before Water Crisis
It’s been over 1,400 days since the Flint water crisis, leaving residents concerned about Flint children’s blood lead levels as an extended exposure to the toxic chemical can cause low IQ scores, academic failure and aggressive behavior in kids. New research conducted by Michigan Medicine and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School suggests blood lead levels in Flint have been on a decline since 2006, the only spike being in 2011 and 2015 during the peak of the water crisis, and the all-time low being in 2016.
Anything over five micrograms of lead per deciliter is cause for major concern, according to the CDC. The 11-year study, starting in 2006 and lasting through 2016, tested 15,817 blood samples of kids 5 years old and younger. Researchers discovered the percentage of children with blood levels over five micrograms dropped from 11.8 to 3.2 percent.
“We found that compared to a decade ago, children’s blood lead levels in Flint are historically low,” Hernan Gomez, M.D., lead author of the study, told the Detroit Free Press. “That is a direct result of lead abatement efforts and citizens following warnings to use filters, bottled water and have their water tested and the like." Gomez adds there is no safe blood level of lead and children being exposed to it, in any measure, is unacceptable.
Michigan’s Health and Human Services director Nick Lyon and the state’s Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells are charged with involuntary manslaughter linked to the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that killed 12 people and sickened 79 others caused by the Flint water crisis, according to The Detroit News. Flint’s water was tainted with lead after the city switched the water supply from the Detroit River to the Flint River and didn’t require corrosion-control chemicals to treat the water in April 2014.
It’s been about two years and celebrities like Will and Jaden Smith, Bruno Mars, Queen Latifah, Jill Scott and many more are still pouring their resources to support the city’s efforts in providing clean water to its residents.