The ongoing water crisis in Flint, which has now exposed more than 90,000 people to potential lead poisoning, is now the subject of a massive investigation by the state of Michigan. "In 21st century America, no one should have to fear something as basic as turning on the kitchen faucet," Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement obtained by NBC News. "I look forward to working with federal, state and local officials, community leaders and Flint residents as we seek answers regarding state law and hope through the process we can help restore some of the trust in our government while helping families move forward."
Though it's difficult to fathom, Flint's water problem is quite real indeed. After opting out of the state's water supply back in 2014, the city started pulling water instead from the Flint River to save money. Last year, concerns regarding the lead levels in Flint's current water supply came to the national forefront. The number of local children with "above-average" lead levels in their blood had doubled by the fall, the Washington Post notes, but the worst of the news was yet to come.
Virginia Tech researchers sampled the water in 271 different Flint homes and found levels that shockingly surpassed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s "toxic waste" distinction, with one home in the city registering as high as 158 parts per billion (ppb), a level "10 times" the EPA limit, as illustrated via the Post's Christopher Ingraham below:
With additional samplings yielding one home registering at a seemingly ridiculous 13,000 ppb, the crisis facing the city of Flint becomes quite clear. Though a direct link between a recent spike in cases of Legionnaire's Disease (including 10 deaths) and the lead levels hasn't been discovered just yet, most experts agree there isn't really such a thing as a "safe level" of lead in drinking water.