Flint’s Lead Problem Extreme Example of Chronic Global Problem

Elevated levels of lead in a US city’s water supply have drawn global attention to the neurotoxin. To cut costs, officials in Michigan and the city of Flint shifted the public water supply from a lake to a corrosive river without applying a required treatment. The water corroded the city’s pipes and contaminated tap water, exposing 100,000 people to lead poisoning. PRI reports on common sources for lead poisoning around the globe: lead-based paint in the United States, batteries contaminating groundwater in Asia, pottery glazes in Latin America, mining operations and battery recycling in Africa. “Young children are particularly vulnerable because they absorb 4–5 times as much ingested lead as adults from a given source,” reports the World Health Organization, adding the metal affects brain development. “About one half of the burden of disease from lead occurs in the WHO South-East Asia Region, with about one-fifth each in the WHO Western Pacific and Eastern Mediterranean Regions.” Lead poisoning is completely preventable, yet kills about 143,000 people per year. – YaleGlobal

Flint's Lead Problem Extreme Example of Chronic Global Problem

Cost-cutting, shifting a water source in Flint, Michigan, corroded pipes and exposed 100,000 people to contaminated water; lead poisoning is preventable
Carolyn Beeler
Monday, January 25, 2016

Carolyn Beeler is a reporter/producer for PRI’s The World. Read about lead poisoning and health from the World Health Organization.

©2015 Public Radio International

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