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Health

New study finds no significant increase in fetal deaths during Flint water crisis

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steve carmody
/
Michigan Radio

A new study finds there was not a significant increase in fetal deaths in Flint during the city’s drinking water crisis.

Many in Flint have wondered if stillbirths between 2014 and 2016 were due to increased lead levels in the city’s drinking water. A 2017 report suggested Flint had seen a 58% increase in fetal deaths. But the report was criticized by academics and the state health department.  

But Virginia Tech researcher Siddhartha Roy says comparing records before, during and after the water crisis shows no evidence of increased fetal deaths or negative fertility rates.

“We have tried to look every which ever way that available models and available data sets could give us signals of possible increase in fetal deaths,” said Roy. “And we found nothing.”

But Roy says they could not rule out whether some miscarriages could have been caused by high lead exposure. 

The study appears in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. 

Virginia Tech researchers played a pivotal role in 2015 in discovering lead in Flint’s drinking water. 

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