Michigan families felt fear close to home when the lead poisoning crisis in Flint hit the news. Access to safe water should be a basic American right, but thousands of people do not have it. Recently a Reuters examination unveiled that Flint is not the most contaminated city in the state. Cities around Michigan, and many more around the country, face worse water poisoning and less news coverage than Flint.
The results of lead poisoning are devastating, especially for developing children. Drinking a high contamination of lead is directly linked to a lowered IQ and stunted development. The effects are being seen around the nation in lower income cities where water sources come from corroding lead pipes.
Hundreds of thousands of families around the country are at risk for lead poisoning
Reuters looked into the percentage of children tested per zip code that show a high level of lead in their systems. They found about 3,000 areas around the U.S. with double the recorded lead poisoning than in Flint, including some in Michigan.
At peak contamination levels Flint, Michigan showed 5 percent of tested children with elevated lead contamination, which is double the average. Areas such as Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Norton Shores, Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor and Jackson show much worse contamination rates. These areas have up to 20 percent of tested children with elevated levels of lead in their systems. The worst contamination rates in Michigan are found in Detroit, reaching to 30 percent.
Lead poisoning can lead to permanent damage in children
Families around Michigan unknowingly face potential health risks. Even if Flint has lower contamination rates, the city has brought lead contamination into the media spotlight. People are starting to be held responsible for the public's health. Three men are facing criminal charges for potentially harming tens of thousands of people with contaminated water. Now over 50 victims have filed lawsuits for personal injury.
It is possible for local families to seek personal injury lawsuits if they believe they have been affected by contaminated water. Children are the most harshly affected. If a child shows a visible change in behavior then it could be a sign. Children can go from happy to angry, sluggish and slow. They may experience delayed development and struggle in school. Adults can also be affected by lead in the water, experiencing hair loss, vision problems, skin lesions, memory loss, miscarriages and mental issues. Find out if your city has high contamination rates and take action to protect your family.