For the past month, Flint, Michigan has been under the national microscope for its lead contamination. Residents from Flint have been complaining about the city’s water for a couple of years, but the government did not acknowledge the disaster until two a chemist and a health professional published reports and the corrosives of the city’s water and the lead levels found in children.
Earlier today, Vox reported that “nearly 10 percent of the more than 140,000 kids tested had levels of 5 or more micrograms per deciliter of lead in the blood (5 µg/dL) —this is the threshold the government uses to identify children with dangerously elevated blood lead levels,” and cite Flint’s exposure rate between 3.21 and 6.3 percent, which is lower than 18 of 20 Pennsylvania cities. The Pennsylvania Department of Health states that the primary source of lead is paint chips from lead based paint.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported that the primary source for childhood lead poisoning in Pennsylvania is exposure to aging, deteriorating lead-based paint
— Vox (@voxdotcom) February 3, 2016
Kevin Mahoney from the Raging Chicken Press makes the argument that what is happening in Michigan in starting to happen in Pennsylvania. In an interview with
Rachel Maddow Lawrence O’Donnell, Michael Moore asks Maddow:
How many more Flints are there in this country that we don’t know about because the media isn’t covering it, because the people don’t have a voice, because if you live here and your poor and black and you live in Flint, or Saginaw, or Pontiac, or Detroit…black Michigan?
Mahoney takes Moore’s warning of that the “defunding of public infrastructure, especially in poor, minority areas, is happening across the country” seriously and calls for the state legislature to start investing in our state’s infrastructure. He goes on to warn that something of that magnitude will have to be a people driven effort because of the conservative pro austerity types leading the General Assembly.
When crunching the data, 18 of the 20 Pennsylvania cities that have higher lead exposure than Flint have an average poverty rate of 27.5 percent. The average poverty rate in Pennsylvania just above 13 percent. Norristown had the lowest poverty rate among the cities at 18.1 percent and Reading had the highest at 38.7 percent.
According to the Vox report, Allentown, Altoona and Scranton had the highest exposure levels (5 or more micrograms per deciliter of lead in the blood (5 µg/dL)), and they came in at 23.11 percent, 20.45 percent and 19.45 percent. The poverty rates of these three cities are at 27.8 percent, 19.5 percent and 20.5 percent.
Here’s a full graphic below: