FLINT, Michigan – Michigan state discovered strong evidence of a spike in children lead poisoning but officials still insisted that there was no anomalous increase in blood lead levels of kids, as Marc Edwards, a civil engineering professor at Virginia Tech, wrote online on Monday.

He created a website to track the water crisis in Flint. However, Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) declared they have made an honest mistake as they believed the spike in blood lead levels was explained by a seasonal variation.

Credit: The Huffington Post/(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Credit: The Huffington Post/(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

“When initially looking at the citywide and county elevated blood lead level numbers, the increase appeared to be consistent with the routine seasonal fluctuation seen in the summer months,” a spokeswoman for DHHS Jennifer Eisner stated in an email.

In April 2014, authorities switched the city’s water source from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River, which led to citizen complaints that the tap water’s quality had decreased.  In September this year, a Flint pediatrician from the Hurley Medical Center reported that the water change was directly linked to the recent spike in lead poisoning among Flint’s kids.

State officials stopped repeating the water was safe until that Hurley report came out. Eisner said their epidemiologists started a deeper research by looking at the data by zip code and confirmed that the increase was beyond normal trends of the seasonal variation.

Edwards had been tracking the water crisis since July 2014, when he released a memo to warn authorities that lead levels were presenting an alarming increase in the blood of children, but they rejected the idea and kept thinking the situation was under control. Brad Wurfel, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, dismissed Edward’s complaints in an interview with Michigan Radio, insisting that blood data analyzed by state officials revealed no signs of a problem.

A public health emergency was declared in the county and people were told not to drink more water in October this year. Snyder signed legislation to return Flint to Detroit’s water system and the governor ordered a task force to carry out an investigation to determine the actual cause of the situation.

Children are the most vulnerable. Those exposed to lead can suffer from serious health and behavioral problems, such as lower IQ points, attention disorders, impaired brain development and sometimes violent tendencies.

Source: Huffington Post