lead | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

lead

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

If your building has been closed or only a few people have been using it, the water in the pipes should be flushed before you start up your business again.

“The chemicals that we put in the water to condition it and prevent bacteria growth or corrosion tend to dwindle and go to zero. And you pick up things like bacterial contamination and metals contamination from contact with the plumbing,” said Eric Oswald, Director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division.

workers removing lead paint from exterior of house
Jamie Hooper / Adobe Stock

Grand Rapids and Kent County have formed a new Lead Action Team. The team will help track and respond to cases of elevated lead levels in kids.

About 1 in 16 kids in Grand Rapids had elevated blood lead levels in 2018, according to figures released by the county. That’s down from previous years. And, countywide, the numbers are even lower.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha speaks at a book signing
umseas / CreativeCommons

Flint pediatrician, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, testified during a House hearing on Tuesday for the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed changes to the Lead and Copper Rule.

The proposal has been criticized for not being aggressive enough to effectively decrease lead levels in lead-contaminated drinking water.

Peeling lead paint.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A new package of bills in Lansing could dramatically change how the state handles the problem of lead-based paint.

Lead based paint was banned in 1978, but it remains the leading cause of lead poisoning in the state.

Filling a sample bottle.
Virginia Tech

Twenty-one drinking water systems in Michigan this year have found lead amounts that exceed the federal action limit, according to state officials.

Those results are at least partially due to the state’s new standards for lead testing.

Out of the 21 systems that exceeded the federal action level, nine were over because of the new standards, state officials says.

Filling a sample bottle.
Courtesy photo / Virginia Tech

Legislators in Lansing are introducing a series of bipartisan bills that would change the state’s emergency manager laws and require more testing for lead in drinking water.

One bill (SB 395) would require water tests at “vulnerable population centers” such as child care facilities, nursing homes and hospitals.

Lead found in city of Parchment's drinking water

Jul 25, 2019
water faucet
Flickr user Bart / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The city of Parchment, outside Kalamazoo, has lead in its drinking water. Officials say the lead exceeds a state action level, which is 15 parts per billion (ppb).

It’s a problem with Parchment's pipes. Last July the city switched to Kalamazoo’s water after chemicals known as PFAS were found in Parchment’s water supply. The new water caused lead service lines to leak the toxic metal into the drinking water.

Tests show the water from July to December of 2018 to be 16 ppb. In the first six months of 2019, it was 58 ppb.

The Leslie Science & Nature Center holds many summer camps and adventure programs.
Flickr // Leslie Science & Nature Center

New results of soil testing done at the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor show elevated levels of arsenic, lead, and copper, among other heavy metals and semi and volatile organic compounds.

The center conducted testing back in May, and the results were released on June 20. 

 

flickr/ruimc / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

The city of Battle Creek could be the latest in Michigan to move forward on replacing water pipes that contain lead. City Commissioners are scheduled to vote Tuesday on a contract to replace the pipes at 93 addresses across the city. The city is deciding whether to spend $311,670 for the work.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

William Thomas opens the front door of his house on the south side of Benton Harbor and leads the way to the kitchen.

He has a white goatee, and he has on a dark grey collared shirt and gold rimmed glasses.

He sits down at a round table with a stack of papers stuck to a clipboard. He pulls one out, a white sheet that was sent to him in the mail last fall.

A graph shows three years of test results for lead in water, with the most recent tests, in 2018, clearly being the most elevated.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Benton Harbor is offering to test the water at any home in the city, after initial tests showed elevated levels of lead in eight homes.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A report by the EPA’s Inspector General blames “management weakness” for delays in the federal agency’s response to the Flint, Michigan water crisis.

Peeling lead paint.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed tighter standards for lead in dust on floors and window sills. Lead dust can be a big source of lead exposure for kids when chips of old paint flake off, or when older homes are renovated. The proposed standards would affect most homes built before 1978 and places where kids spend a lot of time, like day care centers.

drinking fountain
jasongillman / pixabay

Northern Michigan University in the Upper Peninsula has reopened three buildings but turned off drinking fountains while campus officials investigate high lead levels in water.

The school says lead in water samples exceeded the federal action level of 15 parts per billion. The buildings are Thomas Fine Arts, the Learning Resources Center and the Physical Education Instructional Facility - known as PEIF.

Governor Rick Snyder
Flickr user Michigan Municipal League / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Gov. Rick Snyder wants to improve the state's water infrastructure by investing $110 million annually to help ensure access to safe drinking water.

Snyder's office says Thursday the money would come from a new state fee on water customers. It would be used for priority projects such as water main and lead service line replacement, upgrades for failing infrastructure and collection of information on water infrastructure.

inside of lead service line
Terese Olson / University of Michigan

Ever since the Flint water crisis, Michigan cities and citizens have started paying attention to lead in drinking water pipes and faucets and the potential dangers they pose.

You might have lead pipes, or fixtures that contain lead, in your home without even knowing. Many cities are only replacing the public side of lead service lines. So determining what's coming into, and what's inside your home is up to you.

Detroit demo blitz linked to rising lead levels in children

Nov 14, 2017
measuring lead paint levels
Joel Kurth / Bridge Magazine

Lead levels among Detroit children are rising after decades of decline, and health officials say the city’s aggressive housing demolition program is partially to blame.

The city has razed nearly 13,000 homes since Mike Duggan was elected mayor in 2013. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A class-action lawsuit claiming state and local education officials are not doing enough to identify and educate Flint students exposed to lead-tainted tap water is moving forward.

U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow brushed aside almost all the legal motions offered by attorneys for the Michigan Department of Education, Flint Community Schools and the Genesee Intermediate School District seeking to dismiss the suit.

inside of lead service line
Terese Olson / University of Michigan

New University of Michigan research appears to confirm that improper corrosion controls caused Flint's water crisis.

The team of UM researchers focused on the layer of lead scale inside ten service line samples from around Flint. Service lines connect homes and businesses to city water mains. In addition to examining pipe samples under a scanning electron microscope, the researchers pulverized the pipe linings to analyze what they're made of. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Federal officials say $15 million is going to provide health and social services for people who have had or are at risk for lead exposure stemming from the Flint water crisis.

“We understand the urgency of the situation, and this funding will help connect affected and at-risk Flint residents to comprehensive health and social services proven to mitigate the effects of lead exposure,” says U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
 

old faucet
Gene Selkov / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We’ve heard a lot about lead service lines after the Flint water crisis. But that’s not the only way lead can get into your drinking water.

New Zealand had some of the highest lead and gasoline levels anywhere in the world, which meant that the small town of about 150,000 people in the South Island that was studied, had higher than expected lead exposure levels.
Ronald Dueñas / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Switching Flint to water from the Flint River had devastating effects for residents, particularly its children. 

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha first sounded that alarm in the summer of 2015. Her tests proved that after Flint switched the source of its drinking water, blood lead levels in Flint kids skyrocketed.

And that was later confirmed by a CDC analysis. It found that children who drank Flint water had a 50% higher risk of dangerously elevated blood lead levels than before the switch.

That analysis couldn't say exactly how many kids were affected, or what their futures hold.

A study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association may hold some answers. Researchers from Duke University studied childhood lead exposure and adult outcomes.

Samples of various drinking water pipes.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Some state lawmakers got an early peek at Governor Rick Snyder’s new lead rules that are supposed to be rolled out this week.l A top state environmental official shared some details in testimony before a state House budget subcommittee.

 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

New test results show lead levels in Kalamazoo’s water system have dropped.

The federal limit for lead in water is 15 parts per billion. Last time the city tested, in 2014, Kalamazoo’s lead level was 13 parts per billion. Now it's down to 4 ppb.

13 ppb was close enough to worry Shannan Deater, Kalamazoo’s Environmental Services Programs Manager. She says some of the higher lead results in 2014 weren’t really a good, representative sample. 

Courtesy Nan Palmero / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

On Monday, federal authorities approved federal and state funding to help with led abatement in Flint. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved a Michigan State Plan Amendment (SPA) aiming to reduce and eliminate hazardous lead in homes in or near Flint — according to a press release.

DWSD

Detroit found more lead in drinking water samples this summer than it has in recent years, and there’s a few reasons to account for the uptick.  

Unofficial results posted this month by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department show Detroit’s water is safe to drink by federal standards.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The hunt is on for lead pipes in Detroit.

Flint officials still don’t know where all the city’s lead service lines are. That’s because the building records were in horrible shape.

Flickr user David Salafia/Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state is advising schools to test their water for lead, even though it’s not required. Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality wants schools to take action, even if lead levels are below the federal standard.

The federal action limit for lead in water is 15 parts per billion. Governor Rick Snyder would like to see Michigan have an even stricter standard; 10 ppb.

Michigan’s Treasury Department deserves blame for its role in the Flint water crisis, according to a new report.
Flickr user Ian Freimuth / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

With the white-hot glare of worldwide publicity fixed on Flint, one might think the city would avoid doing anything to draw more attention. 

Like, for example, failing to pay the man heading the push to replace those lead pipes. 

Retired Brigadier General Michael McDaniel was appointed to lead the effort to rid the city of its lead pipes back in February. Seven months later, he hasn't seen a penny. 

Pages