Flint officials issue lead advisory - WNEM TV 5

Flint officials issue lead advisory

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FLINT, MI (WNEM/AP) -

The city of Flint has issued a lead advisory for its residents.

The advisory is to make residents aware of the lead level in the city's drinking water.

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling addressed the lead levels at a press conference Friday morning.

He said the city is working as fast as possible to control the lead issue.

“I take responsibility now for finding solutions,” Walling said.

However, the city is in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

The city administrator, Natasha Henderson, said city officials are working with the Department of Environmental Quality to get corrosion control in place in Flint’s water system.

She said it could take 30 to 60 days because of the approval process.

This will reduce corrosion in the pipes, which can cause lead to leak into the water.

“This is not something that could have been predicted,” Henderson said. “We are very concerned and we will take steps to contain lead levels in the water.”

Walling said the water source, whether the city continues to get water from the Flint River or go back to getting its water from Detroit, will continue to be a discussion.

“We’re going to pay attention to all the data and research that’s brought to our attention,” Walling said.

Walling requested $30 million in funding from the state for water infrastructure assistance. A third of that money would be used for replacement of lead service lines in households.

The advisory was issued after researchers released findings of an increase of blood lead levels in Flint children.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, director of Hurley Medical Center's Pediatric Residency Program, led a group of researchers on the study. They analyzed 1,500 Flint children ages 5 and younger between January and September 2013, and from January and September 2015.

During the 2013 period the city was getting its water from Detroit. During the 2015 period the city was getting its water from the Flint River.

Researchers discovered a nearly 2 percent increase in elevated blood levels from 2013 to 2015, according to Hurley Children's Hospital.

They also discovered children living in zip codes 48503 and 48504 had a nearly 4 percent increase.

"Flint families with young children should avoid using unfiltered tap water," said Lawrence Reynolds, president of Mott Children's Health Center.

Water service lines installed before 1986 are more prone to lead issue due to the materials used in homes during that time, the city said in a press release.

Residents with concerns about lead in their plumbing fixtures are encouraged to contact the City's Utilities Division at 810-787-6537. Through the division residents can schedule a free water test.

Flint officials are telling residents to use only cold water for drinking, cooking and making baby formula, a day after doctors urged the city to stop using the Flint River due to high lead levels in children.

The city recommended home filters Friday and urged people to flush cold water lines for five minutes. Over the next 30 to 60 days, officials hope to change the way it treats water.
They believe the change will reduce corrosion in the water, which is now causing lead to leach from old pipes.

The Genesee County Health Department issued a fact sheet regarding lead precautions for residents.

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