Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Cost of cutting corners: US kids with lead poisoning
Chicago (AFP) Jan 8, 2016

The children of Flint, Michigan, are paying the price for a cost-cutting measure that poisoned their water supply after state authorities ignored months of health warnings about the foul-smelling water.

Accused of turning a blind eye to local residents who complained the discolored water was making them sick, the governor of Michigan has finally declared a state of emergency and promised swift action to help.

"This is an unfortunate situation that I do apologize for with respect to our responsibility," Governor Rick Snyder said Thursday after meeting with the city's mayor.

The US Justice Department this week launched an investigation into the handling of the crisis which has seen in a sharp spike in lead poisoning among Flint's children.

Filmmaker Michael Moore, who was born in the northeastern city of 100,000 people, has launched an online petition to have Snyder arrested for what he termed "callous," "reckless" actions.

"To poison all the children in an historic American city is no small feat," he wrote.

"Even international terrorist organizations haven't figured out yet how to do something on a magnitude like this," said Moore, who made his hometown famous in the 1989 documentary "Roger and Me" about the devastation wrought by the closure of General Motors' auto plants there.

- Hair loss, rashes -

Four years ago, Snyder named a state-appointed manager to take control of Flint's troubled finances -- effectively wresting control from elected officials under a controversial law.

As part of a cost-cutting drive, the city began drawing water from the Flint River in April 2014 rather than continue to buy it from Detroit.

The state's environment department approved the switch even though the city's treatment plant was not able to produce water that met state and federal standards, according to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Natural Resource Defense Council.

Residents soon began complaining that the foul, cloudy water was making them vomit, break out in rashes and lose their hair.

A few months later the city had to issue several boil-water advisories after tests discovered harmful bacteria in the tap water. The treatment used to kill the bacteria ended up leaving cancer-causing contaminants behind.

State health officials continued to insist the water was safe to drink even after General Motors said in October 2014 that it would no longer use the city's water in its engine plant because it was too corrosive.

The corrosive water did more than damage engine parts. It also started to leach lead out of the old pipes that distribute the city's water.

One concerned mother contacted the Environmental Protection Agency in January after being rebuffed by city and state officials when she complained that her son would break out in a rash after a bath. She soon found he also had elevated lead levels in his blood.

- 'Manmade disaster' -

Lead exposure is harmful to everyone, but it can have devastating impacts on young children by irreversibly harming brain development. It has been shown to lower intelligence, stunt growth and lead to aggressive and anti-social behaviors.

But despite pressure from the federal environment agency, and water tests showing dangerous levels of lead in homes across Flint, it was months before city and state officials moved to fix the problem.

The state's environment ministry is also accused of using "flawed testing methods that appear to have been designed to underreport the lead content of residents' drinking water," according to the lawsuit filed by the ACLU and NRDC.

Snyder eventually sought $6 million from the state legislature to cover the cost of reconnecting Flint to Detroit's water supply and the switch was completed in October.

That was after elevated lead levels were found in the water of four Flint schools and a local pediatrician released a study showing that the number of children with elevated blood-lead levels had doubled from 2.1 to four percent.

Mayor Karen Weaver welcomed the news that federal prosecutors were investigating Flint's water crisis, saying Tuesday "people need to be held accountable."

Weaver -- who is currently powerless to act without approval from the state-appointed manager -- declared a state of emergency at city level last month in an effort to sound the alarm.

The "manmade disaster," the text warned, will "result in learning disabilities and the need for special education and mental health services and an increase in the juvenile justice system."

She discussed the need for additional social services with Snyder, who agreed during their meeting to transition power back to local authorities.

The infrastructure repair bill could run as high as $1.5 billion, Weaver told reporters.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Bad air plagued Beijing for nearly half of 2015: report
Beijing (AFP) Jan 5, 2016
Beijingers spent nearly half of 2015 breathing air that did not meet national standards, Chinese media reported Tuesday, as the city struggles to address a smog problem that has provoked widespread public anger. The Chinese capital faced 179 polluted days last year, with 46 of them considered heavily polluted, according to the Global Times, citing figures from the city's environmental protec ... read more

PTSD nation? US shootings inflict growing mental toll

Snow makes migrants' journey through Europe even harder

Obama set to hold town hall meeting on gun control

Natural catastrophe losses total $90 bn in 2015: Munich Re

Thor's hammer to crush materials at 1 million atmospheres

Sugar-based carbon hollow spheres that mimic moth eyes

Chameleons deliver powerful tongue-lashing

Coulomb blockade in organic conductors found, a world first

Lake Erie Asian carp could hurt walleye; boost smallmouth bass

Humans adding less nitrogen to oceans than models predict

Deep-water ocean circulation may have awakened marine biodiversity climate change

Human activities trigger hypoxia in freshwaters around the globe

First ever digital geologic map of Alaska published

Antarctic clouds studied again after 50-year break

Climate change altering Greenland ice sheet and accelerating sea level rise

Large and increasing methane emissions from northern lakes

Over 160 killed in Madagascar cattle theft clashes: army

Drought, heat take toll on global crops

What a 'CERN' for agricultural science could look like

Irradiation preserves blueberry, grape quality

Redirected flood waters lead to unintended consequences

Greek dig reveals past glories of Europe's oldest city

Traces of Icelandic volcanoes in a northeastern German lake

Frictional heat helps trigger explosive volcanic eruptions

Mali extends state of emergency until March 31

Mali pro-govt armed group accuses France of killing 4 fighters

Malawi suspends 63 civil servants over stolen US funds

Expanded use of yuan to help revive Zimbabwe's economy: Mugabe

Mental synthesis experiment could teach us more about our imagination

Why the real King Kong became extinct

Carnegie Mellon develops new method for analyzing synaptic density

Genomes of early Irish settlers sequenced

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement