Exposure to lead poses health risks to all residents, particularly for children and pregnant women. And because there is no safe level of lead, Michigan, the Genesee County Health Department, Federal partners (such as the CDC and EPA), and local non-governmental organizations want to help eliminate lead exposure. While the water in Flint contributed to lead exposure, removing lead exposures throughout the entire city will require efforts beyond just good water
The metrics below all track how Flint is working to eliminate lead exposure and make sure that all residents exposed to lead are getting support for their health.
"A 61-year-old woman was provided with information about mitigating lead by eating more Vitamin C, Iron and Calcium. She was educated her about filters – not using hot water through the filter, as well as how and when to change her filter cartridges as well as the unit itself. She was also provided her with a shower filter to soften the water as her skin was irritated.""A 66-year-old male was assisted in filing for Medicaid online. He was also referred him to Meals on Wheels to ensure that he ate, and Senior Companions to provide company.""A 66-year-old male was referred to the Flint Senior Lives Matter program and was made aware of the free transportation he could access as a Flint senior citizen. He was also referred to the local HELP centers in the community to access the foods needed to improve his health and wellness. He said that these services relieved a great deal of stress and anxiety for him.""A 61-year-old woman came into the program when she attended a health fair at a local high school where Flint Senior Lives Matter (FSM) was completing outreach. The referred dietician was able to construct a menu that she can follow of foods that are cost effective and address her individualized needs. She was also referred to utility assistance programs, Flint Senior Lives Matter transportation program to attend all medical appointments and consultations, local HELP centers to address her food needs, and FSM stress counseling for assessment.""A 60-year-old woman that attended Valley Area Agency’s Community Conversation was referred to the team’s Master Social Worker, and Genesee Health Plan’s Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program.""A 69-year-old woman was referred for home delivered meals, home help the government phone through Safelink Wireless. She also now has an appointment with the MI Choice Waiver program to possibly get assistance in the home. She was also approved through Safe link and is currently awaiting the arrival of her phone."
Edible Flint’s soil testing program expanded last year through additional MDARD grant resources to ensure lead safety in food gardens. Edible Flint conducted numerous presentations, interviews, and several workshops on lead safety in the food garden due to the many concerns that arose after lead in Flint’s water was confirmed.
- Each soil test recipient received the lab results, an interpretation document, and a ‘Lead Safety in the Garden’ risk reduction flyer developed by MSU Extension and Edible Flint. This was done in consultation with two MSU environmental chemists and a USDA agronomist whose published research includes lead in urban soils. Through the additional grant funds, they offered irrigation hose filters that removed lead while watering and distributed low-cost rain barrels to many food gardens.
- The Edible Flint demonstration community garden produced 1,500 pounds of produce last year, which was primarily distributed to neighborhood residents who rely on the garden’s fresh produce to supplement their daily diets. One grandmother shared last fall how grateful she was for the fresh produce that her family had regularly received, saying they had a much healthier diet because of it. Edible Flint worked with their community to understand ACTUAL water lead risks when gardening and response to PERCEIVED risks, which helped calm public fears and engage residents in local food production for themselves and for sale.