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lead testing

drinking fountain
jasongillman / pixabay

There’s still a lot of money on the table for Michigan schools that wish to test their drinking water for lead. Far fewer school districts have taken advantage of the grant program than the state expected. So the state is trying to tweak the lead testing program so more schools could or would apply for the money.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There are fewer places for Flint residents to get free bottled water these days.

In August, Flint’s seven water distribution centers handed out 11,061 cases of bottled water a day. That's nearly 300,000 cases for the entire month. 

But just after Labor Day, the state closed three of the centers. Of the nine original sites, only four remain, located in different quadrants of the city.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan needs to improve its oversight when it comes to the Flint water crisis. That is a finding by the Michigan Auditor General released in a report Monday.

It says the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) didn’t provide enough oversight of the food and water lead safety inspections.

“The work got done, but the paperwork, documentation, should have been better,” said Jennifer Holton of MDARD.

MDARD oversees the inspections performed by the Genesee County Health Department.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint homeowners are getting new kits to test their tap water from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

For nearly a year, Flint residents have been able to pick up testing kits at water distribution sites.  The state would test the water samples for the presence of lead.

The new testing kits will now contain two bottles. Residents will be instructed to fill the smaller bottle first. State officials say the test will produce three results.   

The intent is to assess if home water faucets are a significant source of lead in the tap water. 

Drinking water fountain.
Gabrielle Emanuel / Michigan Radio

All 94 school buildings in the Detroit Public Schools Community District meet federal standards for lead in water, the city’s health department announced Monday.

It had spent months screening tap water at all the city’s schools for lead and copper, to make sure they met U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

“And we’re now confident that children who are drinking water in DPSCD schools are drinking water that’s lead-safe,” says Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the health department’s director.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Researchers from Virginia Tech are back in Flint to test people’s tap water, but some residents are not willing to have their water tested again.

Last summer, tests by Virginia Tech were the first to show elevated lead levels in Flint’s drinking water.

Virginia Tech Ph.D student says testing the same homes is the best way to know if things have changed, but he says they are running into some resistance from homeowners.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The federal government has approved Michigan’s request to expand Medicaid eligibility in Flint. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says pregnant women and people under 21 in Flint are now eligible for the expanded coverage.

The Snyder administration asked the federal government for the expanded Medicaid coverage, as part of its response to the Flint water crisis. There are concerns about the health effects of exposure to Flint’s lead-tainted drinking water. 

The expansion will affect an estimated 15,000 Flint residents.

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

It’s been almost four months since Flint went back to buying water from Detroit’s water system.

Here’s the good news: Since January, more than 90 percent of water tests have come back below the federal action level for lead of 15 parts per billion.

But there are still some insanely high lead levels in some homes. Take a look at a map of where those are, and you'll see there’s no pattern.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced yesterday afternoon they’ve sent a “public health strike team” to Flint.

HHS says it has sent in more than a dozen officers with the Commissioned Corps. That’s a uniformed service of public health experts.

They’ll be doing follow-up medical visits with kids whose tests have come back with elevated levels of lead in their blood.

Dr. Nicole Lurie makes an announcement about lead testing results in Flint. She is leading the federal response in Flint for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State and federal officials say water tests at some homes in Flint are coming in at 150 parts per billion or more for lead. That’s ten times the federal action level of 15 parts per billion.

They say they're still testing homes, and of the 4,000 samples collected since December, 26 had levels at 150 parts per billion or higher. In at least one case, the home’s drinking water tested at 4,000 parts per billion. 

Dr. Nicole Lurie is leading the federal response to the water crisis for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Kent County to start testing for lead in water

Jan 28, 2016
Karen Blaha / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Kent County Health Department will conduct its own tests of water for lead, copper and arsenic, starting in February. New equipment will be installed next week.

Right now, Kent County tests water samples for E.coli and some chemicals like fluoride and chloride. But lead testing is handled by the state.

According to Allyson Chirio, lab manager for the Kent County Health Department, the new testing capacity is not in response to the Flint water crisis. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan National Guardsmen are in Flint today.

They’re there to pass out bottled water and filters to residents. That’s because for more than a year, the city’s tap water has been unsafe to drink.      

Numerous missteps by government agencies allowed the city’s water to become contaminated with lead, and many residents say they no longer trust the governor to fix the problem.

Tuesday afternoon, about a dozen children were sitting at a table in their school gymnasium piecing together snowflakes in an arts and crafts project.