Flint’s lead-poisoned water had a ‘horrifyingly large’ effect on fetal deaths, study finds

Sep 27, 2017

By Christopher Ingraham

The fertility rate in Flint, Mich., dropped precipitously after the city decided to switch to lead-poisoned Flint River water in 2014, according to a new working paper.

That decline was primarily driven by what the authors call a “culling of the least healthy fetuses” resulting in a “horrifyingly large” increase in fetal deaths and miscarriages. The paper estimates that among the  babies conceived from November 2013 through March 2015, “between 198 and 276 more children would have been born had Flint not enacted the switch in water,” write health economists Daniel Grossman of West Virginia University and David Slusky of Kansas University.

In April 2014, Flint decided to draw its public water supply from the Flint River, a temporary measure intended to save costs while the city worked on a permanent pipeline project to Lake Huron. Residents immediately began complaining about the odor and appearance of the water, but well into 2015 the city was still assuring residents that the water was safe to drink.

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2 comments on “Flint’s lead-poisoned water had a ‘horrifyingly large’ effect on fetal deaths, study finds

  • It’s rather a long story of cowboy cost cutting laced with science illiteracy and a large dose of political and administrative complacency!





    But Trump has the the same old “GREAT”, Republican solution!!
    Just appoint “free-market” science-deniers to take charge, and stop those Environment Agency scientists from taking measurements, and all those costly problems will disappear! (allegedly) 🙂

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  • @OP – Flint’s lead-poisoned water had a ‘horrifyingly large’ effect on fetal deaths, study finds

    I guess that the people of Flint will be looking to this young girl whose science is streets ahead of Trumpies who have been put in charge of government scientific services!


    A schoolgirl aged 11 has been honoured as “America’s top young scientist” for inventing a quick, low-cost test to detect lead-contaminated water.

    Gitanjali Rao was selected from 10 finalists who had spent three months collaborating with scientists to develop their ideas.

    Her device uses carbon nanotubes to detect the presence of lead.

    Thousands of US water systems are reportedly contaminated by lead.

    Gitanjali’s invention was inspired by the scandal in Flint, Michigan, where officials are facing charges including manslaughter over water contamination in 2014-15, she told Business Insider.

    Until now, testing reliably for lead was expensive and meant sending away samples for analysis.

    But Gitanjali’s portable invention – named Tethys, after the Greek goddess for fresh water – allows a sensor linked to a mobile app to give an accurate, almost immediate analysis via a mobile app.

    “If you take a shower in contaminated water, you do get rashes and that can easily be studied by an epidemiologist,” she told Business Insider. “And if somebody drinks lead in their water, their children might have small, minor defects.”

    Gitanjali said she wanted to further refine the device so it could eventually go on the market.

    She said she wanted to be either a geneticist or epidemiologist when she grew up.

    Gitanjali won a $25,000 (£19,000) prize for scooping the top award at the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

    The innovations developed by the remaining nine finalists include:

    The identification of a molecule that could potentially be used to
    treat Alzheimer's disease

    A robot that helps reduce water wastage during lawn maintenance

    A biodegradable material made from pomegranate husks
    and orange peel for cleaning up oil spills.

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