Flint, Michigan Declared State Of Emergency Over Too Much Lead In Drinking Water

Multnomah Falls

Flint, Michigan’s mayor, Karen Weaver, has declared a state of emergency due to problems with the city’s water system caused by using water from the Flint River, saying the city needs more federal help.

Weaver announced the declaration Monday night and said the move intends to help raise awareness of continuing problems. She said damage to children caused by lead exposure is irreversible and the city will need to spend more on special education and mental health services as a result.

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“I am requesting that all things be done necessary to address this state of emergency declaration, effective immediately,” Weaver told the City Council.

Exposure to lead can cause behavior problems and learning disabilities in young children. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, “lead affects children’s brain development resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral changes such as shortening of attention span and increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational attainment. Lead exposure also causes anemia, hypertension, renal impairment, immunotoxicity and toxicity to the reproductive organs. The neurological and behavioral effects of lead are believed to be irreversible.”

flint water

The Hurley Medical Center, in Flint, released a study in September that confirmed what many Flint parents had feared: The proportion of infants and children with above-average levels of lead in their blood has nearly doubled since the city switched from the Detroit water system to using the Flint River as its water source, in 2014.

And what was the reason for the switch you ask? Flint switched from Detroit’s water system last year to Flint River water in a cost-cutting move while under state emergency financial management–all of that means to save money. The Flint River was supposed to be an interim source until the city could join a new system getting water from Lake Huron.

But residents complained about the taste, smell and appearance of the water. Officials maintained the water met safety standards, but children were found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood and…