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Posted: September 21, 2017

Study: Flint's fertility rates plummeted after lead appeared in water

The Flint Water Plant tower (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
The Flint Water Plant tower (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

By Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Findings from a new study shows that the lead contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, caused an increase in infant death rates and lower fertility rates.

Daniel Grossman and David Slusky, economics professors at the University of Kansas, released a working paper comparing birth and fetal death rates in Flint against other cities in Michigan.

Their research showed that fertility rates decreased by as much as 12 percent among Flint women and fetal death rates increased by 58 percent.

"This represents a couple hundred fewer children born that otherwise would have been," Slusky said.

Birth weights also went down during the contamination period, according to MLive.com.

Read more about the study here.

What happened in Flint? 

For years, Flint, which is 60 miles from Detroit, got its tap water via Detroit’s water system which is drawn from Lake Huron. In 2014, Flint officials decided that the cost of using Detroit’s system was growing too expensive and they wanted to establish an independent water system that included their own pipeline to Lake Huron. 

It would take a while to fund and build the pipeline, so, wanting to save money, officials decided to leave the Detroit system in April 2014, and use the Flint River as a primary water source until the Lake Huron pipeline was completed.

What’s happening now? 

The city has been under a state of emergency, and people there are using filters and bottled water. 

In 2016, Attorney General Bill Schuette opened an investigation and appointed a special counsel. According to The Associated Press, the state investigation team has more than 20 outside attorneys and investigators and a budget of $1.5 million.


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