Lead - New 2021 Lead Crisis in Michigan

December 01, 2021 3 min read

Lead - New 2021 Lead Crisis in Michigan

2014 was a bad year when it came to drinking water. It was the year that marked the height of tap water contamination in Flint, Michigan, which led to a series of clean water legislation passed at local, state, and federal levels. Unfortunately, 2021 came with its own tribulations for Michigan, as another city was hit with a water crisis. Benton Harbor, a low-income city in Michigan, declared a state of emergency a few months back “due to severe lead levels in its drinking water.”

Are these cases state-specific? Or is contaminated tap water an epidemic that can hit cities around the United States?

It takes tragedies like Benton Harbor and Flint Michigan to get the importance of clean water on a national radar, but these cities are not the exception to the rule. Lead exposure even at low levels is dangerous, and old infrastructure can lead to lead poisoning on a national level. 

The Environmental Protection Agency has in place a national standard for how much of a pollutant can be in water before it is considered dangerous. In the case of lead, no level of exposure is safe. Lead is responsible for lifelong effects in both children and adults. Children may suffer from a decreased IQ, lack of focus, and decreased kidney function. Even a low exposure of lead to adults has been known to increase blood pressure, decrease cognitive function, and decrease kidney function. Lead levels in Benton Michigan are currently higher than those of Flint, Michigan in 2014, and governments of all levels are slow to react to it.

It comes as no surprise that old lead pipes lead to lead contamination. When water sits in a service line, it is in constant contact with lead-containing materials. This contaminates the water in the pipe, and this water is then brought up through a service pipe and into homes. Even if an individual replaces the pipes in their house with new, lead-free pipes, they cannot guarantee lead will not contaminate their water. The city-wide service lines could be bringing lead into the house, and until the government replaces all its old lead pipes with pollutant-resistant infrastructure, no one is safe from the negative effects of lead.

Knowing this, experts suggest water filtration units as a protection from water contaminants like lead, at least until lead pipes nationwide are replaced. Water filters allow for pollutants like lead to be taken out before the water is consumed, which prevents even low levels of lead exposure. Seychelle water filters are third-party lab tested to ensure safety for the consumer. Seychelle filters out 99.9% of lead contaminants, bringing lead exposure down to nearly zero. While large infrastructure changes take time, there is a solution that provides an immediate fix to lead exposure. Buy Seychelle to protect your household. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is lead exposure harmful?

Lead is always harmful, even at low levels. Lead is cited to cause lowered IQ scores and a decrease in academic achievement, attention span, hearing, and kidney function in children. In adults, exposure can lead to slower reaction times, mood swings, high blood pressure, and decreases in kidney and cognitive function. 

How does lead enter tap water?

Lead pipes are still common in most American cities to transport water. When water sits in the pipes, the lead from the pipes contaminates the water. This water is then brought through the pipes into homes around the nation. 

Is lead exposure inevitable?

No. Experts suggest that lead exposure through tap water can be avoided on two different levels. On a government level, lead pipes need to be replaced to ensure lead does not enter the water to begin with. On an individual level, purchasing a water filter that filters out lead will eliminate lead exposure. 

Works Cited

Haddad, Ken. “Lead in Michigan water: How it gets there, what we can do, are we all in trouble?”Click On Detroit,29 October 2021,https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/michigan/2021/10/29/lead-in-michigan-water-how-it-gets-there-what-we-can-do-are-we-all-in-trouble/. Accessed 29 November 2021. 

Lutz, Eric, and Erin McCormick. “Michigan tells majority-Black city not to drink tap water amid lead crisis.”The Guardian,12 October 2021,https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/oct/12/benton-harbor-michigan-lead-contaminated-water-plan. Accessed 29 November 2021. 

Northey, Hannah. “Michigan acts on lead crisis; critics urge EPA to ‘jump in’.”E&E News,15 October 2021,https://www.eenews.net/articles/michigan-acts-on-lead-crisis-where-is-epa/. Accessed 29 November 2021. 

Rhein, Nora. “Another Michigan Lead Crisis is Erupting in Benton Harbor.”WDET, 22 October 2021,https://wdet.org/posts/2021/10/22/91598-another-michigan-lead-crisis-is-erupting-in-benton-harbor/. Accessed 29 November 2021.