WUOMFM

No action yet on changing Michigan's "action level" for lead in drinking water

Sep 15, 2016

 This past April Governor Rick Snyder said he wanted the state to enact tougher lead limits for drinking water than the federal limits. He unveiled the plan in the wake of the ongoing Flint water crisis.

The EPA measures lead levels in terms of parts per billion, and the current "federal action level" for lead in drinking water is 15 ppb. Snyder said he wanted to lower Michigan's standard to 10ppb, making it the toughest standard in the country.

But Michigan's limits on lead in drinking water might remain the same for a while.

Snyder says it could be until January before any legislation is passed to lower the standard because it's an election year.

"The only challenge we have at this point in time given it's an election year and challenges, they have a fairly full queue of projects already in the pipeline," Snyder says. "The question we'll have is is it something that can even be addressed this year, or will it have to wait until the first of the year when a new legislative session."

Some experts say as many as 12,000 children in Flint have been exposed to lead in drinking water. 

Despite the federal limits of lead in drinking water, or Snyder's proposed limits for Michigan, researchers have found that any exposure to lead in drinking water can be harmful, especially for young children.