The year before Darnell Earley switched the source of Flint’s drinking water, 2.4 percent of the county’s young children showed dangerously elevated blood-lead levels. By 2015, that figure had increased to 4.9 percent after the children had been exposed to lead in their drinking water that had been leached from Flint’s aging lead service lines.
The Flint water catastrophe is also now serving as a wake-up call to prevent lead exposures in other cities and towns by updating America’s aging water systems. However, many products and foods we currently use and consume, also contain the toxic heavy metal. As Megan Cartwright reports:
Up to 70 percent of the kids who develop elevated BLLs can be attributed to eating or inhaling lead-contaminated house paint and dirt. And the remainder may be suffering exposure from other, unexpected sources: dietary supplements. Pottery and glassware. Candle wicks. Imported makeup. Cheap toys. Chocolate.