You know what’s not worth saving money? Giving children brain damage. When news broke that high levels of lead had been poisoning the residents of Flint, MI, it was already too late. Water is a necessity, and people in Flint had been drinking and using that water every day.
The city’s drinking water became contaminated with lead in Apr. 2014, when the city switched its drinking water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Officials did this to help cut costs.
While the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department had treated the water from Lake Huron, the Department of Environmental Quality in Michigan admits that it failed to require the chemicals needed to treat the corrosive Flint River water.
Almost immediately, lead entered the drinking water stream from pipes and fixtures corroded by the Flint River water running through it. Complaints from residents fell on the deaf ears of city officials who assured them that the water was drinkable.
Until it was discovered that it wasn’t.
First came a Public Service Announcement to boil the water three times in order to remove harmful bacteria, including high levels of e-coli in the tap water.
Then, came a call to limit exposure to the water altogether, until the city switched away from the source of the problem.
And all the while people had been drinking, using, washing and showering in hazardous waste.
While the state apologized for “accidentally” poisoning its residents, a state of emergency wasn’t declared in Flint until Jan. 12, when the National Guard was deployed to assist with distribution of bottled water and water filters.
By the time the city admitted that the water was deadly in Flint, people had become sick, some severely. And children are most susceptible to the harmful consequences of ingesting any amount of lead.
President Obama declared a federal state of emergency on January 16.
It’s important to know there is no safe level of lead in the body, and the impacts of lead are irreversible.
Lead is a powerful neurotoxic metal that can cause severe damage to a child’s developing brain. Even at low levels of exposure, lead can cause permanent learning disabilities in children, delay puberty, cause hearing loss, and decrease IQ.
While city residents struggle to figure out what’s next for them in this local disaster, they are going to need help to get them through this difficult time.
Flint is already very economically depressed. Flint and Detroit are among the poorest cities in the United States. In Flint, 40.1 percent of the city’s population is living in poverty. The median income in Flint is around $25,000 a year.
For starters, Islamic Relief USA donors are sending 100,000 bottles of water to more than 3,500 families in the area. IRUSA Disaster Response Team members have been deployed to assist with relief efforts on the ground.
It’s not the first time IRUSA donors have assisted with getting water to the people of Michigan. In 2015, Islamic Relief responded to the water shut-off in Detroit with a $100,000 grant divided between the Detroit Water Fund, in partnership with the United Way of Southeastern Michigan and Wayne Metro Community Council. And, in 2014, IRUSA’s Disaster Response Team responded to flooding in Detroit with cleanup assistance.
While government authorities are looking to remedy the situation, it’s the help from neighboring Americans that will get immediate relief to Flint fast.
How can this happen?”
“We’re asking the same thing. “
“Send clean water to neighbors in Flint.”
Help do something about it!