Probably most people reading this blog about clean, safe drinking water and the contaminants that continually threaten it, are familiar with the Flint, Michigan lead contamination and it’s unfortunate aftermath.
You might recall that on January 16, 2016, President Obama declared a federal emergency for the city of Flint, over that contamination.
About a year and a half later, the city is still struggling to provide clean sources of water to the community.
One of the positive results is that a conversation has opened up about the condition of the drinking water in the U.S. and a crisis that most did not know existed.
As I have said before, the Flint crisis was entirely avoidable. The Flint situation, prior to the lead contamination of the drinking water, is not that dissimilar to that of many other water systems in the country.
In the first place, the Flint River, the water source they decided to switch to, was known to be heavily contaminated. When the contaminated water hit the aging water delivery infrastructure, the chemicals interacted with the lead pipes, causing dangerous levels of lead contamination.
Those residents who did not have water filters, directly received drinking water that was heavily and dangerously contaminated with lead.
We have talked about lead before. There is no safe level of lead consumption. Lead is especially hazardous to small children. If they are not tested early on in the contamination and the contaminant removed from them, their otherwise healthy growth, including brain health, will be adversely affected.
NOT MAY BE, BUT WILL BE. No signs of lead poisoning are apparent in early years, but the effects of lead on brain development become evident in adolescence, according the Huffington Post reporting from the World Health Organization.
The only reason that the Flint crisis was brought to the public’s attention, when it was, is because a pediatrician named Mona Hanna-Attisha began noticing the symptoms lead poisoning in an extremely large number of children from Flint. She went public with the information and an investigation resulted exposing the problem.
Sadly, Flint is just a small example on lead contamination in the U.S.
A December, 2016 Reuters report about America’s drinking water, concluded that there are nearly 3,000 other locales in the U.S. where lead contamination in drinking water was at least double the rates found in Flint’s drinking water. Wow! For me that is very scary.
I ask myself if I am sure that where I live is not one of those 3,000 areas. Happily, my investigation has determined my area is not one of the 3,000. But, just in case, I have a very efficient and effective water filter.
Besides lead, there are other heavy metals and chemicals in drinking water that adversely affect our health, if not removed.
That is one part of a water crisis.
Another part of the crisis is the cost of water in the future. As I have mentioned, municipal water infrastructures are in desperate need of replacement or repair. But, funds are drying up. A Michigan State University report says that a compounding of factors in the U.S. could easily push large portions of the population out of the financial range to even afford to drink contaminated water.
Water is the number one thing to sustain life, Water’s availability, affordability and safety should be a top concern to all of us.