According to federal officials, an expenditure of $15 million is being allocated toward the provision of healthcare and social services for residents of Michigan who have been or are currently affected by the lead exposure of the Flint water crisis.Flint, Michigan has been back in the news more as officials believed to be responsible for the reportedly deliberate negligence that caused the crisis have been brought up on charges.
The announcement regarding federal funding for Flint, Michigan came Friday, and it comes after authorization was already given under a law that provides $170 million to compensate for the health crisis by dealing directly with water safety issues.This $15 million, though, is specifically being directed to the Healthy Start Program sponsored and run by the Genesee County Health Department.
According to officials close to the situation, the funds will assist citizens with all manner of health issues related to lead exposure in the water supply.Health reports have fostered concerns ever since the onset of the crisis about the terrible effects of lead exposure, and the public has been made increasingly aware of its potential to yield developmental delays in children, miscarriage in pregnant women, and a long list of other afflictions.
The Flint water crisis refers to the poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water supply as a result of reportedly intransigent, apathetic, government failure.The onus fell to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to effectively enforce regulations on drinking water, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) was responsible for taking swift and decisive action when necessary to see to the protection of public health.
Both of these agencies, for a myriad of reasons debated at length in media, failed to fulfill these responsibilities, and with the aid of the MDHHS, the MDEQ deliberately discredited and dismissed all warnings and appeals regarding the dangers of these agencies’ actions.In particular, these warnings concerned disease proliferation, a lack of safe water, and most pertinently, lead contamination.
In spite of this, the agencies had the Flint Water Department hasten without preparation into a mode of operation in which they worked full-time at the Flint Water Treatment Plant to extract water out of an extremely corrosive source without corrosion control.
According to the Flint Water Task Force who filed their conclusive report on the scope of the crisis in 2016, primacy was delegated to MDEQ, which gave them federal authority to enforce law, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a federal program, stayed the enforcement of the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) as well as the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which lengthened the consequences of these actions.The Snyder Administration, reelected in 2015 to govern the state, did reportedly nothing to compensate for or fix these stubborn, selfish errors in judgment on the part of the MDEQ until 2015 despite senior staff members of the Governor’s office repeatedly warning that something be done.
The crisis is a result of the state’s emergency managers who made the decisions that should have fallen to local representatives in Flint to do away with the public accountability and the checks and balances associated with such decisions.Emergency management made critical choices that factored into this crisis.The water crisis has also sparked racial debates because Flint’s demographics include a high measure of ethnic minorities and, therefore, imply that this is a fulfillment of what some African Americans have claimed for many years—that the government poisons the water in Black communities.
The outcry over this in the immediate aftermath was not so dissimilar from that in the wake of the Grenfell fire in the U.K.; in both circumstances, warnings had been abundant before the crisis took its worst form, and living conditions had been affected for years in advance.It was in 2014 that Flint’s water supply was actually switched from that of Detroit—the state capital and epicenter of American motor vehicle manufacturing, which has been seeing economic recovery from the automotive industry crisis that spanned 2008 to 2010 and affected several European countries as well as Canada—and the Flint River became the new source of Flint’s water supply.Much like with the Grenfell Tower fire safety issues, government negligence catches the brunt of the blame, forcing U.K.Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S.Governor of Michigan Rick Snyder to answer for it.
Reportedly, more than 6,000 but less than 12,000 children in Flint, Michigan have endured exposure to Flint’s drinking water, which holds high lead levels, so these children consequently endure a wide range of serious health issues.Switching water sources caused the proportion of children with elevated blood-lead levels to rise from approximately 2.5% in 2013 to about twice that in 2015.It is also the suspected cause of a recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in the same area, which has already resulted in 10 fatalities and 77 infections.
An article in Broadly: Vice reported last year that Dr.Savabieasfahani argues that this degree of exposure to lead is actually on par with what people are enduring in Iraq due to the U.S.occupation of 2003.He explains that lead itself holds a direct correlation to the manufacture of weapons and that a crisis this severe and widespread has resulted in consequences similar in magnitude to the hypothetical case of simply bombing the citizens of Flint, Michigan from 2014 to the present day.
A physician in Flint personally conducted a study that revealed extremely high blood-lead levels in child residents of Flint, which ended an eighteen month period during which citizens complained about the coloration, odor, and taste of the water while MDEQ repeatedly rebutted, claiming that the water was safe to drink.Michigan Live reported in 2015 states that the river water is leaching lead from old pipelines, and as a result, the water itself is more corrosive than the lake water of Lake Michigan due to greater concentrations of chloride.