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Drinking in the Heavy Metal

Article includes comments from Kim Dietrich, PhD, Department of Environmental Health Ingesting lead can result in irreversible damage to a child’s brain. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t step in unless concentrations are higher than 15 parts per billion (ppb) in 10 percent of sampled taps. Since April 2014, when the city of Flint switched to water from the Flint River, many of the city’s 100,000 residents have been drinking lead at much higher concentrations than that. The effects are undetectable at first, but as children grow, they can develop learning disabilities, development delays, speech impairments, attention and hyperactivity disorders and lower IQs.

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