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Lead’s damage can last a lifetime, or longer

Tainted water for kids in Flint could mean problems in adulthood

7:00am, February 15, 2016
baby in Flint, Mich.

TOXIC WATER A mom in Flint, Mich., uses bottled water to bathe her three-week-old baby. Scientists have linked high levels of lead in the tap water there to elevated blood lead levels in children.

The people of Flint, Mich., are drinking bottled water now, if they can get it. Volunteers deliver it door-to-door and to local fire stations.

The goal is to keep the city’s residents from ingesting so much lead. Success – or lack thereof – could have consequences not just now, but for generations to come.

Late last year, scientists raised alarms over a link between the city’s lead-tainted water and the growing number of children with high lead levels in their blood. It’s a serious problem. Lead is toxic to the brain, something scientists have long known.

“Lead is probably the most well-known neurotoxin to man,” says Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who first connected lead in Flint’s water to lead exposure in kids. And as scientists are beginning to find out, the damage that lead inflicts on children may be long-lasting. In addition to harming kids during youth, lead could contribute to disorders that develop

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