Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Lead Poisoning

Yesterday, six months after Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder was notified of the spike in blood levels of children in Flint, he sent the National Guard our to distribute bottled water and water purification kits.

Lead poisoning causes health problems for children, and those exposed to too much lead permanently lose IQ points.  Furthermore, recently there has been a immense increase of 87 county residents developing Legionnaires' disease.  Ten have died.

In April 2014, state officials switched Flint's water source from Detroit's water system to the Flint River.  Immediately citizens began complaining about the quality of tap water.

According to Marc Edwards, a civil engineering professor at Virginia Tech,  Michigan state officials insisted that the water supply in Flint was safe even though they knew an unusual number of children had suffered lead poisoning.  He had uncovered a July 2015 memo warning of elevated lead levels in the blood of Flint’s children.

Edward’s revealed the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services was warned that lead poisoning rates "were higher than usual for children under age 16, during the months of July, August and September, 2014."  However, in September of 2015, Brad Wurfel, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality dismissed those allegations in an interview with Michigan Radio, that the state's analysis of blood data didn't show any signs of a problem.

Michigan officials continued to insist that the water was safe until a Flint pediatrician with Hurley Medical Center reported, that the water source change corresponded with a significant spike in lead poisoning among children.

Mark Edwards noted:"They discovered scientifically conclusive evidence of an anomalous increase in childhood lead poisoning, but stood by silently as Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials repeatedly and falsely stated that no spike in blood lead levels of children had occurred."

After, the county declared a public health emergency and told people to stop drinking the water in October 2015, Gov. Snyder signed legislation returning Flint to Detroit's water system.

Flint is an economically depressed city of about 100,000 people, that started getting its water from the Flint River in 2014.  It had previously bought Lake Huron water through the city of Detroit.  The crisis was created by a state-appointed emergency financial manager, who made that change to cut costs.  
Governor Snyder apologized for the state's actions, but residents are furious, that the state denied the problem existed for months.

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