Effects of Flint water on pregnant mothers a concern

What happens to an unborn child if a pregnant mom drinks water contaminated with lead?

For one Flint family it's a very real concern.

She looks like a healthy happy baby girl but now Paxton's parents are rethinking everything about her first year of life, including the water her mom drank when pregnant.

"Being pregnant, I had no clue, I drank so much water, didn't want to drink pop, coffee, city water you think it's safe," said Anna Wilenius. 

Anna and Dan Wilenius had no idea the water coming from their Flint faucet might be toxic until something strange happened.

"It was browner than most people's kitchen tables, or dirt on the ground," Dan said.

FOX 2: "That's when you knew not to drink it?"

"Yes (and) switch to bottled water," he said.

Now at the Genesee County Health Center they wait two hours for a  blood lead level test. Results will take days  but the questioning will last a lifetime.

"There is concern early lead exposure, including to the pregnant mom might be around for decades in a child," said Dr. Dana Dolinoy, University of Michigan School of Public Health. 

Dolinoy studies the effects of lead on children at U-M's school of public health.

"The most well-known effects happen in the brain," she said. "And lead to learning and attention deficits. But there are newer studies showing other effects of lead including body weight, sleeping, and even hearing."

The first step is to stop the lead exposure, next comes the long term fix.

"Access to clean food and water," she said. "Community programs, a nurturing environment has shown to negate some of the effects of early lead exposure."

Back in Flint,  the national guard doing the heavy lifting, delivering water at fire stations.
For this father of two young children, it won't last long.

FOX 2: "What will you do with bottled water?"

"Cook with it," said Lazaro Gatica. "I hand bathe with it, we go through a lot of bottled water."

Others grab filters and water test kits...

In the face of this crisis, amid all the worry, frustration and waiting, I do get  a sense of gratitude, as this community feels support from people all over the country.

"Thank you all so much and may god bless you all," said resident Korshona Clark.

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