The lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan’s water was described as “state sponsored child abuse” by an outrage health expert to Nicholas Kristof. A total of 4.9 percent of children in Flint has high levels of lead however other parts of America seem to have it worse.
In New York during 2014, 6.7 percent of children also had high levels of lead, in Pennsylvania 8.5, and an alarming 32 percent in Iowa. “Lead poisoning continues to be a silent epidemic in the United States,” says Phillip Landrigan, a professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai.
The poisoning of lead was delivered by the government through the municipal water system while state officials ignored and disregarded the people’s health. Health problems caused by lead poisoning is not just our nation’s problem but a problem that countries face across the world—it is especially common in low-income countries.
There are, however, anti-lead programs designed to combat lead poisoning but because of Congress these program’s funding were cut. After the public’s outcry for more funding Congress has restored some money yet these programs still have less than half of what they originally had.
Brain damage, impaired brain development, violent behavior—these are some of the many health complications lead poisoning can cause. Take for example 2 year-old Malachi who is unable to speak because of lead poisoning. Malachi will continue to live with this disability for the rest of his life, along with other children like him across the nation.
LLeading poisoning still persist in half a million in the United States partly because the majority of these children are of low-income households or are children of color. “A first step is to restore funding and improve lead poisoning screening,” says Nicholas Kristof.
“Let’s recognize the catastrophe in Flint as a wake-up call to address not just one city’s lead poisoning, but America’s,” he says.