Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and other state officials are in hot water after a public health emergency was declared in Flint.
A series of tests has shown Flint's main water supply may have caused increased levels of lead in children's bloodstream. Residents have been complaining about the taste, smell and appearance of the water from Flint River, the community's source believed to be contaminated with the substance.
The problem began more than 17 months ago when the government switched to another water supply for cost cutting purposes. Instead of cutting expenses, however, the move will now cost the government about $10.6 million to fix the problem.
City officials have announced the city is returning to the old water source, Lake Huron. Experts stated that if the water in Flint River had been tested earlier, the health crisis could have been avoided. They discovered that the crisis was caused by the corrosion of pipes.
Gov. Snyder has also announced his government is allotting $1 million to purchase filters and test the water supply, especially in public schools.
"The protocols were being followed as established by the U.S. EPA, in terms of the testing that needed to be done," Gov. Snyder said. "What apparently is true is there needed to be more work."
Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech professor and expert on the corrosion of pipes, said a "competent" person should have seen the water would be tainted by iron and lead, given the way corroding pipes have been leaving off traces of the substances.
Lead is a chemical element and naturally occurring metal found deep in the ground. Even if only small amounts leak into water supplies, the water would be unsafe for use.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reports that lead exposure can cause many health hazards, such as decreased I.Q. in children, increased blood pressure, decreased fertility, cataracts, nerve disorders, muscle pain and memory problems.