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Polluted water upped lead levels

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An investigation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that children in the Flint, Michigan, area had significantly higher lead levels in their blood while the community’s water supply source was switched to the polluted Flint River.

The study, which was released in June, analyzed 9,422 blood-lead tests received by 7,306 children ages 6 and younger and showed that their lead levels stabilized once the water supply source was switched back to Detroit Water and Sewerage.

Lead exposure is a major risk for children given their smaller body volumes and the fact that lead cannot be removed from the nervous system once deposited, studies show.

In addition, a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Genesee County is suspected by independent experts of being partially linked to the switch to the Flint River water supply. In 2014 and 2015, the county experienced 12 deaths and 91 total cases of Legionnaires’ disease, with 55% of those individuals exposed at a Flint hospital served by the municipal water system, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.