Doctors Warn Of Lead In Water In Flint, Michigan

| by Meg O'Connor
Water droplet falling from faucetWater droplet falling from faucet

Doctors in Flint, Michigan, have found the lead levels in Flint's tap water are far too high and warned that many residents should stop drinking it immediately.

Hurley Medical Center did a study of Flint's tap water and is now advising children, senior citizens and pregnant women not to drink Flint's water, saying it could lead to irreversible brain damage — including lowered IQs and memory loss, NBC25 News reported.

The study revealed that double the acceptable amount of lead is present in Flint's water, prompting the doctors' warning about the water quality on Sept. 24. Hurley Medical Center tested the specific zip codes examined by a recent study conducted by Virginia Tech students and found excessive blood lead levels in babies and children.

Doctors say the excessive amounts of lead will affect people not only now but for decades yet to come. Doctors have advised Flint residents to begin using lead filters immediately. 

A blood test is the only way to tell whether the levels of lead in a person's blood are above normal, but according to photos taken by citizens of Flint, the mere sight of the tap water should sound warning bells, as the water is visibly discolored. 

The Virginia Tech study found the lead levels in Flint's water have doubled since the city switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River as a water source, reports The Daily Beast.

This is because, according to the Virginia Tech group's lead investigator, Dr. Marc Edwards, treated Flint River water is 19 times as corrosive as the water from Lake Huron. The more corrosive water leaches lead from the lead pipes that some 15,000 homes in the city still have.

The group of researchers from Virginia Tech have set up a GoFundMe account to buy filters that can remove the lead from the water for the citizens of Flint.

Other consequences of increased lead exposure include developmental delays in children, sluggishness, irritability, gastrointestinal problems like poor appetite, abdominal pain and vomiting.

The mayor is asking the state for $10 million to replace lead water service lines.

Sources: NBC25 News, The Daily Beast, GoFundMe / Photo credit: Rob Ellis/FlickrLuis/Flickr