According to The Root, things could actually be worse than previously expected after one Flint, MI, man was found to have blood-lead levels that were five times what is considered to be toxic.
Prior to the crisis, 29-year-old Aaron Stinson prided himself on drinking water as his key to remaining healthy.
However, that all changed after he was told by Genesee County Health Department officials that his tests showed that he has the highest blood-lead levels of any adult tested in the county as of yet.
“I consume a lot of water,” Stinson told the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday. “That may be where my issue came in at, thinking that I’m living healthy and drinking something that I thought was pure for my body. … It’s hard to really express how I feel, because I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it,” remarked Stinson.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just five micrograms of lead in the blood stream is considered toxic. Stinson’s blood contained as many as 27 micrograms of lead.
Cases like Stinson’s have become such a widespread problem in the area, that the U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy is now making personal visits to homes with contaminated water in Flint, as MLive of Michigan reports.
Murthy spent that past week in Flint speaking with not only residents but healthcare providers as well. He also attended a number of meetings with state, federal, and city officials.
One homeowner, Tia Simpson, especially sparked Murthy’s curiosity when she reported lab tests of the water in their house containing 27 parts per billion (ppb) for one faucet and 376 ppb for another. According to federal regulations, threshold for lead in water is 15 parts per billion; any more than that may require filtration systems, plumbing repairs, or other measures to reduce lead levels.
A second test in January showed a consistent level 376 ppb of lead in the water, but also a whopping 1,150 ppb of copper which is also harmful if ingested in large quantities.