An Update on Flint’s Water

You may be aware of a Genesee County Health Department health advisory that has been issued for people drinking water in the city of Flint, including steps you can take to get your water tested and limit your exposure.Tests have shown that water in Flint contains high levels of lead. According to the Centers for Disease Control, lead is a serious toxin that impacts every organ in the body, including the brain. While both children and adults are vulnerable to lead health effects, children under age six and pregnant mothers are most at risk.Flint residents are encouraged to get their water tested if they are concerned about lead contamination. Residents can get their water tested for lead by visiting the city of Flint website at www.cityofflint.com or by contacting the Flint Water Department at 810-787-6537.If you are concerned that you or your children have been exposed to lead, please immediately contact your family physician or the Genesee County Health Department at 810-257-3833. Children six and under are eligible for free lead tests at the Genesee County Health Department, including without health insurance.Flint residents can filter their tap water by obtaining a lead-clearing filter certified to meet National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) Standard 53 for lead. For more information, the Genesee County Health Department has set up a filter distribution hotline at 810-257-3158.The Genesee County Health Department has issued the following tips about how to limit your exposure to lead in your water. For more information on understanding the health defects that can result from lead contamination and ways to limit its effects on you and your family, please read the brochure here. However, a selection of their suggestions is included below.

From the Genesee County Health Department: What can I do to reduce or eliminate lead in my tap water? 

  • Flush your cold-water pipes by running the water for approximately 5 minutes. The longer the water has been sitting in the pipes, the more lead it may contain.
  • You can fill containers for later use, after the flushing process. 
  • Use only water from the cold-water tap for drinking, cooking, and especially for making baby formula. Hot water is likely to contain higher levels because it dissolves more lead.
  • You may choose to install a water filter that is NSF-certified for lead removal. 
  • If a water filter is installed, replace filters at least as often as recommended by the manufacturer. 
  • Buy a lead-free faucet. 
  • The legal definition of “lead-free” still allows brass faucets to contain up to 8 percent lead. However, faucets marked with “NSF 61/9” and/or “California Proposition 65” meet stricter limits. 
  • Regularly clean particles from faucet aerators.