What You Should Know About the Flint Water Crisis
Flint, Michigan, lies about 70 miles from the shores of the largest group of fresh water in the world known as the Great Lakes. However, the residents of Flint are unable to enjoy any clean water from their taps. In fact, their tap water is poisoning the entire Flint community including their children.
This wasn’t always the case for Flint. Nearly two years ago, the Flint’s water supply was switched from the clean water supply of Lake Huron to the Flint River, a river that is notorious to locals for its filth, in an attempt to save money. Many citizens didn’t believe it at first since all the citizens know of its poor quality, however this switch was made during the financial crisis of the ever-struggling industrial town of Flint.
What Is So Toxic About The Water?
It didn’t take long for residents to notice the funny look, smell, and taste of the water after the switch was made. Due to its brown color, many believe the water was extremely dirty or even sewage ridden. However, this coloring is actually due to the high levels of iron in the water. The Flint River is highly corrosive and contains nearly 19 times more iron than their Lake Huron supply of water they used to have. Though this amount of iron can cause sickness, it is not what is currently poisoning the residents of Flint.
The high levels of iron causes corrosion which would normally be treated with an anti-corrosive agent in compliance with the law. However, due to this neglect, the water began leaching lead from the pipes. The elevated levels of lead has caused intense and toxic lead poisoning for the whole community of Flint. For the first 18 months, the residents were kept in the dark about their poisonous water supply while more and more of them were needing medical treatment.
The Doctor That Discovered It All
In the pediatric ward of Flint’s Hurley Medical Center, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha was seeing more and more children coming in with rashes and hair loss among several other troublesome symptoms. Though no one believed that the Flint water was safe, no one realized the extent of the waters dangerous nature. Dr. Hanna-Attisha however, was suspicious and decided to look into blood records to compare the difference in blood lead levels of toddlers. The results were astonishing, the lead levels had doubled and even tripled in a few cases.
Realizing what this could mean for the children and residents of Flint, Dr. Hanna-Attisha took matters into her own hands and went to the state with her results. At first the state publicly denounced her work and stated she was causing unnecessary hysteria. However, after a week spent attacking her claim, they found that she was right.
In A State Of Crisis
Though the water supply has been switched back to Lake Huron water, the damage to the water pipes has already been done and is continuing to poison the Flint water supply. Currently, the town of Flint is depending on bottled water donations in order to get by. There is currently no plan to remedy the situation.
What is worse, even if the water situation is fixed, lead poisoning causes irreversible side effects especially towards children. Along with the physical side effects of rashes and hair loss, lead poisoning can cause permanent brain damage that leads memory loss, lower IQ, behavioral problems, and depression.
Personal Injury Lawsuits against the State
A class action lawsuit has been filed against the state of Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder, and the city of Flint for negligence in the Flint water crisis. Several are claiming to have suffered injury due to the contaminated drinking water after the state purposely connected to the Flint River in a cost-cutting move. That aside, Governor Rick Snyder also neglected to treat the filthy Flint River water with an anti-corrosive agent to prevent the lead poisoning. The lawsuit reads on to include that plaintiffs are also still being billed for the undrinkable water. It is believed that this is only the first of several lawsuits that will be filed against the state and Governor Rick Snyder.