Amid the crisis gripping Flint, Michigan, some have turned to water filters to help remove lead from the drinking supply. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned that the water simply might be too contaminated for the filters to handle.
According to a release from the EPA’s website, lead-removal filters that have been distributed in Flint by the state are certified to work on water that contains 150 parts per billion, but recent testing has found the water ranges from 153 parts per billion to more than 4,000 parts per billion in more than 20 samples. There’s no one area that has been more affected by the higher lead levels, but the residents have been warned about the ineffectiveness of their filters, the Detroit Free Press reported.
It’s unclear what options are available for those in households where there’s more than 150 parts per billion of lead, although health officials recommend that pregnant women and children under the age of 6 only drink bottled water at those homes. No level of lead is considered safe in drinking water for anyone and officials still aren’t sure what’s causing the extremely elevated levels.
“Understandably, residents here are scared,” Dr. Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the federal Department of Health and Human Services, said at a press conference regarding the filters.
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Gov. Rick Snyder encouraged residents to get their water tested to ensure their filters are effective. “Please make it a priority for your family and encourage your friends and neighbors to obtain testing kits as well,” he said in a statement, along with information on how to obtain testing kits.