It seems the tainted water in Flint could lead to problems in the years to come, as exposure to lead can cause damage for decades. The residents of the city located in Michigan have to use bottled water after they have been warned that the water source is tainted with lead.
It started at the end of last year, when scientists warned them that they have found a link between the tainted water and children that presented high levels of lead in their blood. This is precisely worrying because lead is extremely toxic to brains. At the moment, residents of Flint are doing their best to avoid the water flowing from the pipes.
Pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha is the one who connected the lead exposure to the contaminated waters. Other researchers are currently trying to determine the effects of the neurotoxin, as well as their lasting effects. Lead is damaging children, but can also affect them later on during adulthood, since it has been linked to disorders like schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Unfortunately, it seems this taint might extend to the children and grandchildren of the people who have been exposed to it.
Wayne State University neural toxicologist Douglas Ruden believes that the children living in Flint will have to be monitored their whole lives. While drinking clean water will help decrease the lead levels in their blood, the damage cannot be undone.
Unfortunately, lead can be found everywhere in the United States, the result of burning leaded gasoline for years and years. Subsequently, the neurotoxin was spread into the air and in the end settled on the upper level of the soil. According to Boston Children’s Hospital environmental epidemiologist David Bellinger, lead never disappears.
But what happened in Flint? Back in April 2014, a switch took place to the water source, from Huron Lake to Flint River. The result was that lead was dissolved into the pipes of the city, and the metal seeped into tap water.
As lead poisoning can lead to various mental disorders, many health campaigns have been organized. Unfortunately, until today no cure has been discovered. There are some techniques for drawing the metal from the body such as chelation therapies. However, those cannot help the brain.
Since exposure to lead can cause damage for decades and even span over generations, Hanna Attisha agrees that the best method is preventing exposure to the neurotoxin.
Image Source: Supreme Understanding