For example, the administration of the city and water agencies in Flint kept giving the residents empty promises instead of taking initiative and investigating the real causes of water contamination. The Flint, Michigan water crisis raised awareness about the dangers of lead-tainted drinking water and the role of the nurse in addressing such a crisis. 22.5% of households reporting difficulties getting access to behavioral health services. “If we are not at the doctor, we’re in bed, worried about bone loss, bone breakage, dental issues.”. The 37-year-old mother of four began to notice that her hair was thinning, she had erratic blood pressure and her children started to get rashes over their body soon after she gave them baths. LeeAnne Walters, who joined forces with Mays to create Water You Fighting For, a website to inform citizens of their continued research into the water crisis, has had similar experiences. “This is something I couldn’t prevent. “My biggest concern right now is that my 5-year-old might have lead poisoning,” she tells PEOPLE. L. J. Butler et al., The Flint, Michigan, water crisis: A case study in regulatory failure and environmental injustice. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use. The harmful effects of lead exposure on children's health are well-documented. Many Flint residents complained of skin irritation and other health problems. ), all the way to President Barack Obama, who visited in May, have appeared before audiences drinking glasses of Flint water in bids to prove its safety. “All of the testing that is going on now doesn t reflect past exposure. The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, involved the contamination of the municipal water supply with toxic lead and dangerous bacteria. Researchers from the Hurley Medical Center announced in September 2015 that the number of children in Flint with excess blood lead levels had doubled since the switch to Flint River water, and that the levels had tripled in neighborhoods with the highest lead contamination in their water. Because of damage to corroded plumbing, some residents still filter their water to remove impurities or use bottled water for drinking, cooking, and routine hygiene. Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. 198.71.238.15, Water can be contaminated by chemicals or other foreign substances that are detrimental to human health. (Credit: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health), The Flint water crisis and its health consequences. Inside the Shocking Health Effects of the Devastating Water Crisis. Today, Mays, her husband and three children all suffer from longterm heavy metals poisoning. The Flint Water Crisis began in 2013 when the city of Flint, Michigan, voted to end its water contract with Detroit. The Flint water crisis and its health consequences. The bacteria, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms, suggest that the water supply was contaminated with either human or … 34% of individuals self-reported symptoms of anxiety and 29% self-reported symptoms of depression. Elected officials denied for over a year that the city’s water was also contaminated with lead, but they finally admitted that the water wasn’t safe in September 2015. 104.232.27.237 Get push notifications with news, features and more. Walters then rushed to get her children tested and the results confirmed all four had been exposed to lead. Dozens of people became sick with Legionnaires' disease, with at least dozen people dying of the pneumonia-like illness. The extent of the lead contamination problem in Flint’s water at its worst is uncertain and controversial, but a preliminary report issued by a research team from Virginia Tech found that 40% of homes in Flint might have high lead levels. The final version of an EPA report on testing at three Flint homes issued in November 2015 noted that “even with corrosion control treatment in place in the future, physical disturbances will be capable of dislodging the high lead-bearing scale and sediment from non-lead pipes as well as lead pipes.” See also: Childhood lead exposure and lead toxicity; Chlorine; Corrosion; Poison, Health officials noted that the number of cases of Legionnaires disease (Legionella) around Flint rose atypically during 2014 and 2015, claiming 10 lives. Samples of Flint's drinking water proved to be filled with disease-causing bacteria, carcinogens, and lead. Introducing ... PEOPLE's Products Worth the Hype. Compounding the scandal is the fact that the population of Flint is disproportionately poor and African-American, suggesting to many critics that such mismanagement might not have occurred in a place with a wealthier, whiter population. We compare the change in the fertility rate and in health at birth in Flint before and after the water switch to the changes in other cities in Michigan. Regina H. Boone/Detroit Free Press/Zuma. Flint switched its public water source in April 2014, increasing exposure to lead and other contaminants. Recent tests of the water in Flint homes generally find that the quality is well within federal safety standards, but the trust of Flint’s citizens in their water has been slow to rebound. “We worry about lead because of what it does to your whole life course trajectory,” she tells PEOPLE. Those problems, which officials seem to have addressed inadequately, soon translated into a variety of health threats for Flint’s citizens. The Flint Water crisis brought lead levels to the forefront but the problem goes beyond Flint. Briefing by: 51% of households felt that the physical health of at least one member had worsened due to Flint water crisis. Childhood exposure is linked to reduced developmental and biological processes impacting intelligence, behavior, and life achievement. Exposed children are at risk for a number of problems, including lower IQ scores, developmental delays, and behavioral issues such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder… Read about what can be done. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician at Hurley Children’s Hospital in Flint, says that the instances of lead poisoning doubled – and in some cases tripled – in some areas of the city after the water supply was switched. One of her kids got so sick that he missed a month of school, and “at one point, they told us he had cancer because they didn’t know what was going on.”. So imagine what was potentially done to an entire population of children. “Learning from the Flint Water Crisis: Protecting the Public’s Health During a Financial Emergency” (January 2018) (PDF). Your IP information is https://doi.org/10.1036/1097-8542.BR0119171, Childhood lead exposure and lead toxicity, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2016.12.002, https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.estlett.6b00192, Flint Water Study: Flint Water Advisory Task Force (Final Report), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Flint Drinking Water Documents, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Flint Safe Drinking Water Task Force Draft Lead in Drinking Water — Preliminary Assessment, Additional credits and copyright information. The Flint water crisis is an ongoing public health crisis that started in 2014, after the drinking water source for the city of Flint, Michigan, was contaminated.In April 2014, Flint changed its water source from treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water (sourced from Lake Huron and the Detroit River) to the Flint River.Officials failed to apply corrosion inhibitors to the water. “It’s come to the point where it’s taken over our entire lives,” says Mays, who also thinks she might now have lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease. On April 25, 2014, the City of Flint, Michigan changed their municipal water supply source from the Detroit-supplied Lake Huron water to the Flint … See also: Legionnaires' disease; Public health. MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology, 115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 3000 biographies of notable scientific figures, MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics, ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists, SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research, LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information. AccessScience Editors, DOI:https://doi.org/10.1036/1097-8542.BR0119171, The water crisis that gripped the city of Flint, Michigan, in 2014 and 2015—and which is still felt to the present day—became one of the most notorious and scandalous public health disasters in recent United States history. 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