It has been four years since the water supply of Flint in Michigan was contaminated with lead. Elon Musk is now taking action to address the problem.
Musk Pledges Funding For Contaminated Water In Flint
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO promised to help fix the water contamination issue. Replying to a request posted on Twitter, Musk pledged on Wednesday that he will pay to fix the houses in Flint with contaminated water supplies.
"Please consider this a commitment that I will fund fixing the water in any house in Flint that has water contamination above FDA levels. No kidding," Musk tweeted.
In a later tweet, the billionaire said that most Flint homes already have safe water but he would still organize an effort to add filters to homes that need them.
Flint Water Contamination
The lead started to leach from old pipes after the city sourced water from the Flint River in 2014 as a cost-saving measure. The officials, however, did not properly treat the water to prevent pipe corrosion leaving nearly 100,000 people vulnerable to contaminated water.
The rust, iron, and lead seeped into the public water, which led to a range of health consequences. The untreated water is blamed for an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Flint.
Children also showed increased levels of lead in their blood.
"From April 25, 2014, to October 15, 2015 (the period when the Flint River was used for drinking water), the levels of lead in Flint tap water increased over time and analysis of children's blood lead data detected an increase in BLLs ≥5 µg/dL," the U.S Centers for Disease Control said in a 2016 report.
"The likelihood that a child consuming the water would have a blood lead level ≥5 µg/dL was nearly 50 percent higher after the switch to Flint River water."
Children who drink lead-poisoned water absorb the toxin that gets deposited to the bones, where it is stored and eventually distributed into the blood over time.
Lead is poisonous because it interferes with zinc, calcium, and zinc, which can lead to stunted brain development. Lead poisoning is also linked to anemia, abdominal pain, seizures, kidney injury, deafness, and paralysis. Children exposed to lead may also experience delayed puberty, decreased IQ and decreased hearing ability.
Flint Replacing Pipes
A spokesman for the mayor of Flint said that Musk has not contacted the city and that Flint is currently in the process of replacing the pipes and all costs are covered.
Thousands of water lines in the city have already been replaced and tests over the past two years have shown that the amount of lead in the water is already below the federal action level.