Flint, Michigan issues state of emergency

Mohammad Hakim, News Reporter

The city of Flint, Michigan, has declared a state of emergency because of high levels of lead in children’s blood, reports The Washington Post. Many, including the city’s mayor, suspect that a change in the city’s main water source in 2014, a switch from the Detroit water system to Flint River, is to blame for illnesses among the city’s children. Exposing children to lead puts them at risk of anemia, impairment of the kidneys, and toxicity to the reproductive organs. Lead can also affect a child’s brain development, leading to antisocial behavior and a reduced IQ. It’s unclear how many children in Flint are suffering from lead exposure, but a study published in September by Flint’s Hurley Medical Center hints that this problem isn’t going away. The proportion of children with above average levels of lead in their blood almost doubled after the city switched its main water source, the researchers say. For months, protests and a petition did nothing to change the city’s water source. So, those who could afford it bought bottled water, while many others continued to drink from Flint River. In October, the city finally returned to the Detroit water system. A month later, a group of parents filed a class-action lawsuit against the city, the state, and a number of public officials. The lawsuit links health conditions such as hair loss, vision loss, and depression to the city’s water.

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