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CDC Expert Says Flint Water Crisis Could Easily Have Been Avoided

Agency looked at children’s blood levels before, during, and after city’s switch to local water

MONDAY, June 27, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Analysis of blood samples from young children in Flint, Mich., shows they had much more lead in their blood when the city used local drinking water in an effort to cut costs, according to research published in the early release June 24 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

During the period that the Flint River water was used (April 25, 2014, to Oct. 15, 2015), lead levels in local tap water increased over time, as did lead content in children’s blood, the CDC said. A series of blood samples showed that children younger than 6 were nearly 50 percent more likely to have elevated blood lead levels when the city used the Flint River for drinking water instead of the Detroit water system. The percentage of children with high lead content returned to previous levels once the city switched back to the Detroit system.

The CDC has advised that all children under age 6 in Flint have their blood tested for lead by a health care provider.

“This crisis was entirely preventable, and a startling reminder of the critical need to eliminate all sources of lead from our children’s environment,” Patrick Breysse, Ph.D., director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, said in an agency news release.

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