How Much Tylenol Do U Give A 3 Month Old Preventive Medicine Failure: The Flint Michigan Example

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Preventive Medicine Failure: The Flint Michigan Example

The crucial role of preventive medicine is usually not fully apparent until there is a costly obvious failure as currently exemplified at Flint Michigan. The dangerous effect of lead poisoning on modern society is so well recognized that homes and public water supply systems built in the United States in the last two decades have been completely free of lead pipes.

Older homes and public water supply systems were either re-piped or demolished for obvious safety reasons. Cities that are unable to identify all of their old lead pipe connections use corrosion control to protect the inner lining of city water pipes. When these basic preventive measures (Kemper, Alex et al, 2007) were overlooked in Flint Michigan, a huge water crisis quickly developed.

Flint City bought healthy water from Lake Huron treated at Detroit water plants for more than fifty years before 2013. But in 2013 the city voted to switch to a cheaper water pipeline being built to Lake Huron. This caused Detroit City to suddenly cancel their water supply contract leaving Flint without a water supply.

On April 25, 2014, in a desperate move to preserve water supply to 100,000 Flint citizens Darnell Earley, emergency city manager, appointed by Governor Rick Snyder, decided (Reissman, DB et al, 2001) to switch their water supply to the corroding Flint- river water, without corrosion control and against expert warning. Experts recommended a short-term contract renewal with Detroit City to give Flint City the time it needed for lead pipe replacement and corrosion control, at an estimated cost of $1.5 million. But that recommendation was passed by even

Shortly after the switch Flint households began reporting a chicken smell from their tap water, along with a brown discoloration. The local DEQ tested and confirmed E. Coli in a Flint water system. Chlorine was introduced into the water system to clear the bacteria, and citizens were reassured that the city had safe water. By January 2015, toxic levels of chlorine byproducts, Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM) were reported in the Flint water system.

Between April and June 4014, Flint residents began to report deeper browning of their tap water, hair loss, and neurological symptoms in their children. The DEQ tested samples of Flint City water and said it met federal standards of < 5 parts per million of lead (Handler, Phoebe, et al, 2016). It even went as far as reporting to EPA that Flint City was being compliant in their use of erosion control, which was not true.

Flint citizens became suspicious of their DEQ, and began doing their own water testing and blood testing for lead (Carty Denise C. et al, 2016). The found toxic levels of lead in their tap water. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician at Hurley Medical Center, also discovered an increase in the number of school children with high blood lead from 2.9% – 4.9% since the change in April 2014. So they invited an expert, Dr. Edwards, a city water lead control attorney, from Virginia Tech to come and test their tap water samples. He confirmed toxic levels of lead in the water samples and notified the city council

In less than three months the toxic Flint river water badly eroded the inner lining of all the underground lead pipes supplying water to Flint City. Lead began to leach into the city’s water system and turn the water progressively brown.

Media pressure from Dr. Edward’s EPA report and The Rachel Maddow Show reports on MSNBC lead to the declaration of a public health emergency in Flint City by Gov. Rick Snyder on October 16, 2015. Even with the disaster declaration, Gov. Rick Snyder supposedly wouldn’t reach out to the federal government for a disaster relief fund, until presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called him out on MSNBC.

Flint citizens, who are predominantly black, took to the streets in protest against Governor Snyder, accusing him of racism. In an effort to contain the situation, the state government has now put the pediatrician who blew the whistle in charge of the Flint water crisis-disaster control committee. But the citizens are still asking for the resignation of Governor Schnider.

Of all the complications of lead poisoning (Hou Shunngxing et al., 2016; Korfmacher.Katerina S., et al, 2016), the one that will cost the State of Michigan the most is the brain damage in school children (Finkelstein, Myra et al. , 2016 ). Those children with low IQ and learning disabilities will not only be a loss, but also a financial burden on the state’s economy for decades to come. Compare that to a few million dollars that would have contained the Michigan river flowing out in the first place. This is a good example of what preventive medicine should not be in the 21st century.

References:

Kemper, Alex R., Rebecca L. Uren, and Sharon R. Hudson. “Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Activities Within Michigan Local Public Health Departments.” Public Health Reports 122.1 (2007): 88-92. Print

Hou, Shuangxing et al. “A Clinical Study of the Effects of Lead Poisoning on the Intelligence and Neurobehavioral Abilities of Children.” Theoretical Biology & Medical Modeling 10 (2013): 13. PMC. website February 1, 2016.

Korfmacher, Katrina S., and Michael L. Hanley. “Are Local Laws the Key to Ending Childhood Lead Poisoning?” Journal of Health Policy, Politics and Law 38.4 (2013): 757-813. PMC. website February 1, 2016.

Carty, Denise C. et al. “Racism, Health Status, and Birth Outcomes: Results from a Participatory Community-Based Intervention and Health Survey.” Journal of Urban Healthâ�¯: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 88.1 (2011): 84-97. PMC. website February 1, 2016.

Finkelstein, Myra E. et al. “Lead Poisoning and the Fraudulent Recovery of the Critically Endangered California Condor.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109.28 (2012): 11449-11454.PMC. website February 1, 2016.

Reissman, DB et al. “Use of Geographic Information System Technology to Assist Health Department Decision-Making Regarding Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Activities.” Environmental Health Perspectives 109.1 (2001): 89-94. Print

Handler, Phoebe, and Daniel Brabander. “Increased Incidence and Changed Risk Demographics of Childhood Lead Poisoning: Predicting the Effects of the CDC’s 5 µg/dL Reference Value in Massachusetts (USA).” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 9.11 (2012): 3934-3942. PMC. website February 1, 2016.

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