"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released the results of its investigation into the potential health impact that lead contamination in the Flint, Michigan water supply had on the blood lead levels of local children. The findings indicate that when the source of the water supply was switched to the Flint River, without appropriate corrosion control measures, young children who drank the water had blood lead levels (BLLs) that were significantly higher than when the source of water was the Detroit water system. After the switch back to the Detroit water system, the percentage of children under 6 years with elevated blood lead levels returned to levels seen before the water switch took place.
“This crisis was entirely preventable, and a startling reminder of the critical need to eliminate all sources of lead from our children’s environment,” said Patrick Breysse, Ph.D., director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. “CDC is committed to continued support for the people of Flint through our Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program and efforts to raise awareness and promote action to address the critical public health issue in communities across the country.”To understand the impact of consuming contaminated drinking water on children’s blood lead levels, CDC researchers examined data on levels of lead in blood of children younger than six years before, during, and after the switch in Flint’s water source. The current CDC blood lead level of concern (also known as a reference level) is 5 or more micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (≥5 µg/dL). This reference value is based on the population of children ages 1-5 years in the U.S. who are in the top 2.5% of children tested for lead in their blood..."