(Newswire.net — September 24, 2017) — In an effort to save money Flint made the switch from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) to Flint River, in April 2014. A series of deaths, illness and miscarriages were associated with led found in tap water but the death ratio and miscarriage statistic findings were inconclusive.
The state Department of Health and Human Services, said there was no “evidence that indicates the water switch” contributed to higher fetal death rates, or a decrease in fertility rates during the transition period in the city of Flint. However, a new study, claims fetal deaths have increased by 58 percent, Russia Today reports.
Researchers led by assistant economics professors David Slusky at Kansas University and Daniel Grossman at West Virginia University compared Flint’s fetal deaths records with the rest of Michigan between 2008 and 2015.
“What we find is that fetal death rates increased in Flint following the water change, but really, we see no change at all in the rest of other parts of Michigan,” Daniel Grossman told Russia Today.
In order to turn river water into a drinking water, officials treated it with heavy chemicals. Despite efforts, the water was not purified enough causing the raise of diseases in the area connected with bacteria that lives in dirty water.
Even worse, led pipes used to transport water, left over 100,000 residents potentially exposed to high levels of led found in the drinking water. in January 2016 officials declared a federal state of emergency and instructed residents to use only bottled or filtered water until the pipes are changed.
As of early 2017, officials said the water quality had returned to acceptable levels; however, still recommended bottled water for safer use. Exploring consequences of the Flint water crisis, researchers found correlation to decreased fertility rates and decreasing of pregnancy.
While a drop in pregnancy rates could be explained by the decision not to have a baby in a potentially dangerous environment, fetal mortality could be connected to the Flint water supply switch period; however, the data are still inconclusive.
“We find that there’s several hundred fewer children than we would have expected to have been born over this time period,” Grossman told RT. “These are things we should be worried about going forward, but we can’t really quantify at this time,” he added.
Lead’s toxicity was discovered in the late 19th century. Even in small doses led behaves as a neurotoxin that damages the nervous system and causes blood disorders. Led poisoning can be treated, however, it can cause permanent brain damage.