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To Protect Flint's Children, Get Them Out of There


#1

To Protect Flint's Children, Get Them Out of There

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

As the Rust Belt city's water crisis continues, one public health expert is stressing that "the children of Flint remain in harm's way"—and suggests that the best response at the moment may be to consider temporary resettlement of the families affected.


#5

Can we get an update on the legal case against Guber Snyder et al.
Doesn't even have the common decency to resign.
This guy and cronies (emergency managers) need to be sitting before a judge and jury.


#6

Is the guy who's suggesting resettlement offering to put up the cash required to do so?

When I read the paragraph above the first thing that came to my head was that whoever was sent to collect the families and cart them off to a new location had better be wearing a whole bunch of good body armor. Not only is Flint one of the most poverty stricken cities in America, it's also one of the most violent. Jews aren't the only ethnic/racial group who have been persecuted throughout history. If you start hauling poor black folk out from the ghetto, that got a freakishly good resemblance to what happened to the Jews of Poland. There just might be a rather large group of gang banger in Flint who would welcome the target practice while believing they were performing a community service by protecting their neighbors from being hauled off to concentration camps.

The other image that comes to mind were the "cities" of FEMA trailers set up for the residents of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Those trailers were notorious for the toxic fumes emitted from the plywood from which they were constructed. That was nothing but a crony cash give away scheme to whoever made the things.

I'm sorry, but this is the worst idea I've heard.

The residents of Flint might be poor, and too poor to move to anywhere else. But the simple fact is Flint is their home, and they might not want to move. They might enjoy sharing their lives with friends, neighbors and relatives who live there. Many may own the homes they live in and not want to leave, afraid that gangs or thieves might break in if the house were vacant.

The residents of Flint are Citizens of this country. When the last few hurricanes struck the east coast what happened? The government stepped in to help homeowners who had a little flooding going on. I don't see how that compares to the "flood" of toxic waste that's been washing through the homes of Flint Residents for the last two years.

The Citizens of this country should feel shame at what's happened. The U.S. Congress, President Obama, and the Supreme Court should feel shame for not having done more sooner to get the damaged water lines that continue poisoning the Residents of Flint replaced ASAP.

The governor and State legislature of Michigan should feel shame - but their died in the wool neoliberal republican ideologues who feel never feel any shame for anything because they're heartless ba$tards whose conscience has been seared. They're hopeless and need to see life go by from the inside of prison cells.

Don't pack the children off because you don't want to fix the problem. Fix the problem. It takes a crew of 6 men about 4 hours to replace the service lines from the street to the house. I believe it costs less than $2,5000 to do the job. Seems far more cost effective than creating a bunch of refugees. Just loan Flint the money to get the job done, and bill the State of Michigan. As soon as federal marshals haul Snyder and his chief administrators off to jail while the RICO investigation proceeds, you'll get the loans repaid.


#7

I'm a solo pediatrician in WA and have been advocating measured evacuation since the discovery of the poisoning.
Where is the public health dept as well as the local medical community?
If this were a radiation leak there most certainly would have been a call for evacuation.


#8

'Resettlement' so this city can be gentrified/privatized, engulfed and devoured by the rich may be the end game Snyder and his ilk have always had in mind when appointing emergency managers to make conditions so bad residents will have no choice but to leave...


#9

The State government spent at least a year concealing the data that indicated increased lead levels and the presence of Legionella that has killed at least 9 individuals and sickened many more. As late as last September the State was assuring the Residents the water was safe to drink.

There is at least one house that has tested as having lead levels of 10,400 ppb. The recently released report of 600+ samples that have been taken lists 17 homes in excess of 1,000 ppb; 100 or so above 100 ppb.

State officials ridiculed the Flint physician who conducted a scientific study that showed increased lead levels in children and linked that rise to the time the switch to the Flint River as the primary water source was made, given the time it took for the corrosive water to scour free of the protective carbonate coatings.

Many of the residents have nowhere else to go and lack the financial resources to do so even if they did have somewhere to go. The State refused to approve funding for any type of relief for the victims until the scandal hit the national headlines. The City, under the control of a State appointed "Emergency Manager" had no authority to spend any funds not approved by that EM.

If you read the timeline of events that unfolded you might not be so quick to conclude a radiation leak would have been treated any differently.

The public health department is most likely operated by the State, isn't it? The evidence of corrupt crony governance in Michigan indicates it affects all levels and agencies. There is conclusive evidence that State officials knew about the cases of Legionnaires' Disease and the high lead levels and chose to take no steps to protect the health of the Residents.

Governor Snyder denies having any knowledge of what was happening in Flint; that's highly improbable. Even if the denial is true the events that unfolded indicate Snyder is incompetent, as he should have been informed by his administrative assistants.


#10

That was my first thought. It is easy to say evacuate these children and their families, because it makes sense to us white folk. But vacating that ground for the short term could mean a permanent loss of their community if the neo-liberal forces at work in Michigan get their way. Fix the damn problem, and worry about who's going to pay for it later. That's pretty much SOP when it comes to our foreign and economic policy anyway, except for the fixing part.


#11

Stop bombing Syria for one week and spend the money in Flint to rebuild their water system ASAP! Then, arrest everyone involved for terrorist child endangerment. Rick Snyder should be in prison. He knew and did nothing. Everyone down to the EM knew and did NOTHING!
RICK SNYDER SHOULD BE IN PRISON! USE HIS, AND EVERYONE ELSE'S SALARY WHO COVERED UP THE TERRORIST ACT OF POISONING AN ENTIRE CITY TO FIX THE PROBLEM NOW!


#12

Flint should not be "loaned" the money. Rick Snyder and everyone involved should be made to pay for the damage they've caused. They're terrorists. Their assets should be frozen, and they should go to prison for terrorist acts against American citizens. They're domestic terrorists of the first order.


#13

When I wrote "loan" Flint the money to fix their damaged infrastructure, I was thinking in terms of the federal government stepping up and handing a check to the Mayor for $60 - 100 million; actually a line of credit that could be drawn against to pay vendors and contractors as they supply the material and labor required to replace the damaged pipes and fittings.

I wasn't proposing that Flint be required to pay that "loan" back; the documentation should be written up with Flint witnessing the actions taken by administrators and employees of the State of Michigan who were responsible for damaging the City's infrastructure, and that the State of Michigan should rightfully be required to reimburse the federal government for the expense incurred.

Like you, I'd like to see Snyder lose all his assets over this. Unfortunately, the Constitution says something about depriving people of life, liberty and property. Given the Patriot Act and the lawlessness that passes for governance these days, that's probably a quaint idea. Still, I wouldn't hold my breath 'cause I just don't think that's going to happen.

I do believe what the Michigan State government amounts to terrorism. Again I won't hold my breath.

There is, however, the federal RICO statutes that apply in this case. Along with the criminal charges of manslaughter, disregard for human life and the public welfare, there are things like dereliction of duty, reckless endangerment, conspiracy, fraud, violation of fiduciary duties, and very possibly crimes against humanity. That last item is very interesting; I hadn't thought of it before. The others paint a picture of a criminal enterprise using government to fleece the Residents of Michigan of their personal financial assets, and sell off assets held in common by the State on behalf of the Residents to investors and corporate entities.

Once the criminals are brought before the bar of Justice, there's a chance of seizing property; levying exceptionally heavy fines against the individuals involved is a more likely option as means of restitution. What I really like is the idea of having a court vacate State statutes that grant immunity to the culprits for their misdeeds. Requiring each individual to pay their own legal fees would be very helpful. Snyder would be in a better position than most to weather that storm.

The other thing that's even jucier is to open this matter for the Residents to Flint to file not just a class action lawsuit, but individual civil suits for themselves and their children for damages. That would be 90,000 lawsuits brought against Mr. Rick Snyder. Just filing the initial documents to mount a defense would cost over $1,000 per lawsuit. When I do quick dart math, it looks to me like that alone would be enough to turn Snyder into a pauper.

The lack of accountability grants cover to criminals who have the expectation of getting away with anything and everything they do. I hope the Snyder case is the turning point on this issue.

It's kind of satisfying dreaming about what should happen in a perfect world. But what's most important is for People to show their outrage and get contractors digging and replacing the damaged pipes to stop poisoning the children of Flint.


#14

Protective carbonate coatings? Lead carbonate?


#15

R.Merriman - RIGHT ON! After they're sued til they're penniless, we can put them in a for-profit prison for the rest of their domestic terrorist lives. And yes, it's satisfying to dream of what should really happen to the sociopaths who've committed such atrocities.


#16

Mongrel dogs don't much respond to anything except having their ass kicked. Tar and feathers start the process.


#17

Yes, lead carbonate.

The info I'm trying to disseminate on this issue comes from what I've recently gathered from my reading. I'm no chemist; I'd assumed when I read carbonate that it was calcium carbonate. Using Google it's actually lead carbonate that builds up inside the lead pipes.

The corrosive water broke the stable compound down and flushed it through the system. This exposed the lead surface of pipes, allowing lead to leach into the water that's now flowing through the pipes.


#18

My take is that even with lead carbonate lining the pipes there will be a small amount of lead leaching into the water, even if the water were clean. Water is usually chlorinated and so would be very mildly acidic; it is also likely to contain carbonic acid to a minor degree, so you have chloride and carbonate ions in the water which would surely introduce minor lead into the drinking water. Lead will build up in the body; you wouldn't get massive birth defects etc but a very low grade of lead in the bodymight cause issues without impairing normal function. Lead has been banned from petrol and paint for that very reason. Any city that uses lead pipes these days is being irresponsible.

How many cities in the USA still use lead pipes? Is there a correlation between low-grade lead poisoning and the propensity for USAians to want to shoot each? Interesting questions, but the answers? A PhD there for someone.


#19

95% of the cities in America today have lead pipes in the distribution system. You're assumption seems to be that we're talking about pipes being installed in 2016. The issue dates back to the turn of the century in 1900 and up through the 1950's when many currently occupied homes in America were built.

It was somewhere between 1980 and 1985 when building codes were revised to restrict the use of lead pipes and lead based solder to 0%. Before that, lead solder continued to be used when installing service lines, fittings, and interior plumbing. I'm not sure what date marks the end of the use of lead pipes.

Some communities have, and are, engaged in deliberately replacing all of the lead pipes hooked up to their water supply systems. Lansing, Michigan is currently engaged in such a project. They are systematically replacing every lead service line present in their municipal water supply. In most communities, it is customary to only replace lead based equipment when it breaks.

The federal mandate for taking when lead is detected in drinking water is marked at 15 parts per billion. There is one house in Flint, Michigan that tests are over 10,400 parts per billion of lead contamination; this is twice as much as needed to classify the solution to be toxic waste.

I'm not a chemist; I don't understand the interactions. Municipal water treatment is not an amateur activity. It is well understood engineering. What's taking place in Flint has absolutely no equivalent comparison to the situation found in any other community in America today.

Yes, there are communities that have definite problems that should be cleaned up right away. The situation in Flint developed within 60 days of a State appointed administrator's decision to dump improperly treated water into Flint's drinking water system.


#20

George_III wrote (to R.Merriman):

'My take is that even with lead carbonate lining the pipes there will be a small amount of lead leaching into the water, even if the water were clean. Water is usually chlorinated and so would be very mildly acidic; it is also likely to contain carbonic acid to a minor degree, so you have chloride and carbonate ions in the water which would surely introduce minor lead into the drinking water....'

Solubility in water (in g/kg H2O):

PbCO3..........7.3 E-4
PbCl.............10.8

Lead acetate and lead nitrate also have high solubilities, but are unlikely constituents of the water supply. Yes, chlorination is standard practice in the US. Here in Philadelphia, whose water department is highly regarded,
lead pipes in homes was replaced by galvanized iron screw pipe (half-inch), which was replaced by copper tubing. At that time 50-50 tin-lead solder was used for the connections.

A greater problem in Philly is the lead in paint in old homes. Children eat the paint that flakes off the walls.


#21

By your take how much lead is in the water of American homes?

I don't really understand your point. Is it common for American homes with lead service lines to have lead concentrates above 1,000 ppb?

That's not unusual in Flint. That wasn't the case before June 2014.

What has that to do with your theoretical calculations? If you have any further questions along those lines address your questions to the Society of American Municipal Water Engineers.


#22

R.Merriman wrote:

'By your take how much lead is in the water of American homes?...'

I don't have the vaguest idea. Lead has been used in paint, solder, brass fittings, and storage batteries. Lead and oakum are used to join sections of cast iron pipe.


#23

So between 7000ppm and say 11000ppm. Well, if that were in an ore body as 0.7% and 1.1% Pb a geologist might be interested as to what it could mean.

What does E-4 mean? Thanks for the information.