In April of 2014, Flint Michigan switched its water source to Flint River water. Residents soon began complaining about the water's strange color, taste, and odor. In August of that year tests on the water showed high amounts of Trihalomethane (THMs), a pollutant formed when chlorine is used to disinfect drinking water and known carcinogen. In January of 2015 the Detroit water system offered to reconnect Flint and waive the $4 million connection fee, but this offer was declined by officials, who maintained that there was "no imminent threat to public health".
For eighteen months residents of Flint had complained about the water while the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality insisted the water was safe to drink, even after a physician found elevated blood lead levels in several children of Flint. It was later determined that the corrosive river water was leaching lead from the old pipes and it was revealed that although the city had claimed they had tested tap water from homes with lead services lines, the truth was they actually had no idea where the lead service lines were located. Volunteer teams found that a least 25% of Flint homes had levels of lead greater than the federal limit of 15 parts per billion.
The citizens of Flint, particularly the children, now face serious health risks associated to drinking lead-contaminated water such as damage to the nervous system, the reproductive systems, and the kidneys and in children specifically, irreversible brain damage. It has been estimated that between 6,000 and 12,000 children have been exposed to lead poisoning due to the city's toxic drinking water.
The crisis has inspired some people to find ways to help raise money and awareness for the citizens of Flint, including St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Adam Wainwright. Through his charity, Big League Impact, Wainwright has launched a March Madness bracket challenge accepting donations to go to charities in Flint. In addition to Waino, those participating in the challenge include Max Scherzer, Justin Forsett, Davis Love III, David Wright, Kyle Gibson, John Smoltz, Blaine Boyer, Neil Walker, Zach Johnson, Kevin Millar, Tony Clark, James Laurinaitis and Shane Robinson and others.
To enter the bracket challenge and donate to help Flint, visit www.bigleagueimpact.org/ImpactFlint.
Wainwright launches bracket challenge to aid Flint, Michigan | Derrick Goold: Bird Land | stltoday.com
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