Another city with mostly black Michigan has been warned about toxic drinking water – just seven years after the Flint water crisis.
On October 14 Governor Gretchen Whitmer called for a response from “the entire government” in Benton Harbor three years after the first reports of high levels of lead in tap water, NBC News reported.
Just a week ago, her administration urged residents to use bottled water. She now promises to step up efforts to replace lead pipes after government and local officials have been criticized for mishandling the crisis.
“This government response will continue with the urgency and urgency that this threat requires,” Whitmer wrote in a directive.
The governor’s order imposes free or cheap lead-related services, including health care, on residents of Benton Harbor, a predominantly low-income community that is 84 percent black.
This urgent action comes after concerns about polluted water were first expressed in 2018, according to Detroit News. Pollution levels have remained high every year since.
The federal threshold for an emergency response to lead pollution is 15 parts per billion.
In 2018, eight homes were tested above 15 ppb, with the highest level measured at 60 ppb. Three years later, 11 homes were tested over 15 ppb, with the highest recorded at 889 ppb, News reported.
CONNECTED: Michigan is reported to have reached a $ 600 million deal in the Flint water crisis
Exposure to lead, even at low levels, can harm children, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. This can cause behavioral and learning problems, low IQ and slow growth.
“It’s too late to look at the blood lead data” Hana-Atisha, a pediatrician from Flint who uncovered the water crisis in Flint, said, according to MLive.com. “We don’t need further evidence that there is a problem here.”
In April 2014, to save money, Flint employees began drawing water from the Flint River. The corroded pipes carried lead into the drinking water. Although residents complain about the smell, taste and other water problems, city officials insist it is safe.
By September 2015, a group of doctors had warned the city of high levels of lead in the children’s blood. State regulators, ignoring these warnings, insisted the water was fine until the scandal hit the front page across the country.
The state and residents of Flint reached a $ 600 million deal in 2020.