None of us can live without water.
When we turn on our tap, here in the First World, we expect the water coming out of it to be potable. We depend on our government to provide a good drinking water that will not poison us.
What happens when the water you drink is toxic?
I want to thank Denise, a blogger in Michigan, for inspiring me to write this post.
Back in the late 1970's, my spouse and I drove through Flint, Michigan on the way to somewhere else. We passed auto plant after auto plant. But, with the decline of the auto industry, Flint declined, too. The decline was so serious that a movie about Flint (Roger and Me) in 1989 became a hit - a controversal hit, but a hit nevertheless.
Now, Flint is in the news again, for the worst reason - children are involved.
In 2014, Flint, which was drawing water from the nearby major city of Detroit (about a 45 minute drive away) decided instead to draw water from the Flint River to "save money". Immediately, there were complaints about the taste of the water, which were disregarded. In the fall of 2015, it was discovered that this was a tragic mistake - the proportion of children with above average levels of lead had doubled. In October, Flint reversed this decision, but it was too late.
Now, the water in some parts of Flint is testing at some of the highest levels of lead researchers have ever found in a municipal water supply-enough to meet a government definition of toxic waste. Now, the National Guard has been called out to distribute drinking water to the affected residents.
How toxic is toxic?
I can remember when lead was used in household paint. Then, they found that children would chew flaking paint, and the lead caused all kinds of damage - to quote the Washington Post, problems caused by lead "can include high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems, kidney damage and memory and neurological problems." Lead was banned from paint. Later, lead was banned from gasoline.
The terrible effects of lead, in other words, have been known for years.
Yes, just imagine - endangering the future of children to save some money. Water that goes into baby formula, water that goes into schools, water that goes into daycare centers...water, the staff of life.
Until it isn't.
I rarely get political on my blog, but this defies belief. Our President has declared a Federal emergency in Flint.
Hundreds of children have tested with too-high levels of lead in their blood.
The natural urge of many of us is to reach out and contribute money for relief/supplies. But, if you do, please be very careful. Scammers love to take advantage of these situations. Please be careful, and investigate any organization you want to give money to.
One TV network has posted this information, which I have not investigated, or endorsed.
What will be the end result of this tragedy? I shudder to think that we are only seeing the beginning.