Public Health Emergency Declared in Flint, Michigan Due to Lead Contamination in Water
After a public health emergency was declared Tuesday due to the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, the state is now distributing free water filters and bottled water to the city's residents, according to Reuters.
#FlintWater quality reaches crisis level http://t.co/mIDIasyiuk http://t.co/MSBLYEIfL5— Progress Michigan (@Progress Michigan)1443186784.0
Recent tests from a local children's hospital showed that children had elevated levels of lead in their blood a year after the city began using water from a local river instead of buying Lake Huron water through Detroit in order cut costs.
The tests "found the number of Flint kids under the age of 5 years old with above average lead levels nearly doubled city-wide and in some cases, tripled," reported FOX 2's Randy Wimbley.
"Our children are a top priority given the effects lead can have on their development," Mayor Walling said in a statement. "Any bottled water donations we receive will be used for our children and other high risk groups, such as our seniors."
It appears that the toxic metal had been entering drinking water through corroded pipes and plumbing materials, according to Flintwaterinfo.com.
Or, as Henry Henderson, the director of Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) Midwest office, explained in a blog post, "the water from the Flint River, as treated, is far more corrosive than the Lake Huron water that had previously coursed through the City's pipes and water infrastructure."
"As a result of the change to corrosive river water," Henderson continued, "the aging lead pipes released higher concentrations of lead into Flint's homes. Despite the urgently stated concerns raised by residents and presented to state and local officials, the people of Flint were told their water was safe."
Based on state official’s action plan for #flintwater, we can’t let this crisis continue. http://t.co/th35Vp6g4Q http://t.co/MHtH1HyzbX— Senator Jim Ananich (@Senator Jim Ananich)1443812892.0
Lead, which is most harmful to pregnant women, women who are nursing and children under age 6, can damage the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells. Lead poisoning can also irreversibly stunt a child's mental and physical development.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that 15 parts per billion (ppb) is the maximum recommended level of lead in household water. However, an alarming Flint Water Study found that about 10 percent of their local water samples had values of lead at levels of 25 ppb.
Local parent Lee-Anne Walters told The Guardian she was “shocked, angry … and hysterical” after learning in March that her son’s immune system was compromised after unsafe lead exposure.
“I just couldn’t believe that we were paying to poison our kids,” she said.
To make matters worse, as The Guardian pointed out, Flint residents "pay some of the highest water rates in the U.S., in the community known for its economic decline."
Officials had been insisting the water in Flint was safe and within federal guidelines. But they finally shifted positions this week after a public health emergency was declared by Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell.
Reuters reported that on Friday Michigan Gov. Snyder announced a plan that calls for "increased water testing, additional precautions for families with lead plumbing and long-term solutions to address the city's water infrastructure challenges."
The plan does not include restoring Detroit as a water source.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
People across New England witnessed a dramatic celestial event Sunday night.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By David Reichmuth
Over the last month, I've seen a number of opinion articles attacking electric vehicles (EVs). Sadly, this comes as no surprise: now that the Biden administration is introducing federal policies to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, we were bound to see a reaction from those that oppose reducing climate changing emissions and petroleum use.
The majority of EVs sold in 2020 were models with a starting price (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) under $40,000 and only a fifth of models had a starting price over $60,000.
On Friday, China set out an economic blueprint for the next five years, which was expected to substantiate the goal set out last fall by President Xi Jinping for the country to reach net-zero emissions before 2060 and hit peak emissions by 2030.
The Great Trail in Canada is recognized as the world's longest recreational trail for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Created by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and various partners, The Great Trail consists of a series of smaller, interconnected routes that stretch from St. John's to Vancouver and even into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It took nearly 25 years to connect the 27,000 kilometers of greenway in ways that were safe and accessible to hikers. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and AccessNow, the TCT is increasing accessibility throughout The Great Trail for people with disabilities.
Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow partnership for AccessOutdoors / Trails for All project. Mapping day at Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, British Columbia with Richard Peter. Alexa Fernando<p>This partnership also comes at a time when access to outdoor recreation is more important to Canadian citizens than ever. <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200527/dq200527b-eng.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies from the spring of 2020</a> indicate that Canadian's <a href="https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moneytalk-mental-health-during-covid-19-1.1567633" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mental health has worsened</a> since the onset of social distancing protocols due to COVID-19. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/safe-activities-during-covid19/art-20489385" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mayo Clinic</a> lists hiking, biking, and skiing as safe activities during COVID-19. Their website explains, "When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected."</p><p>TCT leadership took this into consideration when embarking on the accessibility project. McMahon explains that there has never been a more important time to bring accessibility to the great outdoors: "Canadians have told us that during these difficult times, they value access to natural spaces to stay active, take care of their mental health, and socially connect with others while respecting physical distancing and public health directives. This partnership is incredibly important especially now as trails have become a lifeline for Canadians."</p><p>Together, these organizations are paving the way for better physical and mental health among all Canadians. To learn more about the TCT's mission and initiatives, check out their <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/stories/" target="_blank">trail stories</a> and <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TCT_2020-Donor-Impact-Report_EN_8.5x14-web.pdf" target="_blank">2020 Impact Report</a>.</p>