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Flint Water and Citizens Contain Lead

faucet-running1The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services today issued its bi-weekly summary report on lead testing in Flint. Preliminary data indicate that 43 of 2,182 adults and children tested had elevated blood lead levels since Oct. 1.

“In partnership with the Genesee County Health Department, we are working to engage and provide resources to residents to reduce all potential exposures to lead,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Case management and home lead analysis are available for families in which an elevated blood lead level has been detected.”

The first MDHHS summary report on blood lead levels in Flint was issued Dec. 3, 2015. Updated reports are posted on a bi-weekly basis on the www.michigan.gov/flintwater website. After refining our methods to identify age, some people are now counted in a different age group than on previous reports. The total counts for each year have not changed.

The report includes both capillary and venous blood tests, and people who have had multiple tests are counted only once. Tests and their results cover the time since the state action plan was put in place on Oct. 2, and capture the number of elevated blood lead levels greater than 5 micrograms per deciliter.

MDHHS, together with the Genesee County Health Department (GCHD), is working with local partners to distribute educational information around lead testing and prevention. Supplemental state dollars are funding GCHD nurses to work with families when an elevated blood lead level is detected.

Families with an elevated blood lead level can also choose to have a nurse coordinate an environmental health investigation in their home to help identify lead exposures, which could be lead from paint, soil, plumbing, and other sources. Families with questions about their blood lead levels or test results are also encouraged to contact their primary care physician or local health department.

In addition to mandated testing at ages one and two for the Medicaid population, MDHHS is coordinating with its Medicaid health plans and provider communities to recommend blood lead testing for any child younger than six years of age in Flint who has not previously been tested. The state, in coordination with GCHD, developed and issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) notification for local providers to help ensure consistent messaging and protocols among primary care providers.

Free water filters and replacement cartridges are available to Flint residents. For a full list of locations and hours of distribution, or to view the full blood lead level report, visit www.michigan.gov/flintwater. The summary will be updated as more data becomes available.

To help residents properly install water filters, and to demonstrate how to replace the original when it expires, MDHHS has created an instructional video on its YouTube channel. For this and other updates, visit www.michigan.gov/flintwater.

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