FLINT, MICH. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency releasedpreliminary results of lead sampling at Flint residences, as well as an interactive map of sampling results. The map is available at www.epa.gov/flint
EPA’s lead sampling effort is intended to determine how much lead is in the drinking water collected from the sinks of homes suspected of having lead service lines and to assess the performance of corrosion control treatment over time. Corrosion control helps to treat pipes so lead does not get into the water.
EPA scientists took a series of samples to collect all of the water in the pipes between the kitchen faucet and the street. At each residence sampled, the results EPA is posting show how much lead is found in the samples and where it is originating from in the plumbing system. Personal identifying information is removed prior to data being posted and data will be shared directly with homeowners immediately upon receipt.
The samples will help EPA determine where the lead is coming from within a home’s plumbing (for example, from pipes in the house versus from the lead service line leading into the home). EPA will compare results from ongoing sampling events to assess the performance of corrosion control treatment over time.
In addition to the residential lead assessment, several other EPA sampling efforts are planned or underway in Flint. This includes testing to confirm that lead-removal filters are working as expected in homes with high lead levels. Early results show that filters are effective at removing lead from the water. The agency continues to recommend that Flint residents use NSF-certified filters in their homes.
EPA is also testing to confirm adequate levels of chlorine in the system. Chlorine is used to disinfect drinking water systems and prevent the growth of viruses and bacteria such as E. coli. In drinking water systems, the presence of chlorine is normal.
Each effort involves collecting samples at locations throughout the city, and submitting them for analysis in an EPA laboratory. Preliminary data is being made available at www.epa.gov/flint in order to provide the public with information as samples are processed. Preliminary data should be considered raw, unprocessed information. EPA will post final data as soon as its quality has been assured. Typically, the rigorous quality control procedures used to finalize sampling data can take up to 15 days to complete.
EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agree that there is no known safe blood lead level in children. Lead is harmful to health, especially children. Until sufficient information is gained to determine when the water is safe to drink, EPA and CDC recommend that people only consume bottled or filtered water. Use only bottled water for water, food and formula given to babies under 1 year old. Bottled water is the safest choice for pregnant or breastfeeding women and kids under 6 years of age.
EPA recommends that residents, if they have concerns, contact their local health provider to have themselves or their children tested for lead. EPA will continue to work with the city of Flint to monitor drinking water quality and to ensure the public is receiving up to date information. To learn more about the health effects of lead in water CLICK HERE.
EPA also recommends that residents run cold water throughout the house for at least 2 minutes every morning to flush pipes and clean their aerators every week.