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Western spotted skunk

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Yellow-throated Marten


2014-2015 Flint water lead

This article by Kevin Drum argues that the Flint water lead poisoning episode was not that bad, there was little lasting damage, and the biggest issue today is people hyping the issue and scaring kids (link).

I have to disagree that “…little damage done. Lead levels never got all that high”. True, the attention the problem received led to a quick response that soon fixed the water, and the lead levels in children’s blood began to decline.

But when the lead issue was discovered, “Resident Zero”’s water had lead levels of 217–13,200 μg/L, 14X – 900X alarming levels (!

In the initial study, in 7 of the 9 Flint wards, > 20% of households had water lead levels > 15 ppb, the action level. In the worst wards, child blood lead levels were elevated in 11%, 9%, and 6% of children ( In a quick search, I don’t see how high blood lead levels rose in these kids.

There were 17 months between the water switch and the start of corrective measures. The water lead issue was first identified in Feb 2015, and testing over the spring and summer raised greater and greater alarm as it became clear this was a widespread water issue, and then in Oct 2015 corrective measures were taken.

Several thousand children <6 years old (of 9,000 in Flint) had significantly elevated blood lead levels for more than a year due to this poisoning.

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