The city of Flint, MI, has been pushed into the spotlight as residents continue to fight for clean water. The crisis became a national issue when researchers at Virginia Tech revealed the water was highly corrosive with very high levels of lead and iron. While officials in the Great Lakes State work to alleviate the toxic water contamination, the rest of the country is wondering about the water flowing from the taps in their homes.
The problem in Flint started in 2013 when the city’s water supply was shifted from Lake Huron to the Flint River in an effort to save money. The result however was resident noticing discolored and dirty water that smelled and tasted funny. What the researchers at Virginia Tech uncovered was that an anti-corrosion agent was not used, which would have prevented the high levels of iron, and cost the city only $100 a day. With the water missing that vital treatment, it allowed lead to also enter the water supply along with the iron. Multiple lawsuits have already been filed in Flint against the governor, former mayor and other government employees connected to the water contamination.
The health risks involved with toxic water contamination are serious. Lead poisoning is a major concern, especially for young children. Symptoms range from developmental delays and learning disabilities, to sluggishness and fatigue, to loss of appetite and weight loss. Pediatricians are able to measure the levels of lead in the blood through a simple blood test administered with just a prick of a finger. In case of a potential exposure to lead, is important for children and adults to have the lead level in their blood checked, as high levels can lead to damage to the kidneys and nervous system.
Another health problem the people of Flint are dealing with is a breakout of Legionnaires’ disease. At least 87 cases were reported across the county since June 2014, with nine people losing their lives. New York City residents had their own concerns over Legionnaires’ disease last summer when more than 120 people fell ill and 12 died in the South Bronx from an outbreak of the disease. Legionnaires’ is a severe form of pneumonia that can cause respiratory failure, septic shock and acute kidney failure. It is spread when individuals breathe in water contaminated with legionella bacteria, commonly through ventilation systems, cooling towers for air conditioning systems, hot tubs and swimming pools.
Water is an essential part of life and it is up to our government officials to make sure it is safe for everyone to use. If you or a loved one has become ill due to exposure to toxic or contaminated water, you need an attorney who will stand up for you. Contact an experienced lawyer at Finz & Finz, P.C., to help you fight those who put you and your family’s health in jeopardy.