[8/30/16] DANIEL BARKER-The results of an investigation seeking to find out what caused a spate of rashes and hair loss among Flint, Michigan, residents suggest that the symptoms may be due to exposure to the city’s water supply, but investigators refused to admit to a definitive link.
The months-long investigation was conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, along with other state and federal agencies.
The investigators said that the cases of rashes and hair loss could have been caused by the Flint public water supply both before and after the source was switched back to Lake Huron, following the now infamous 2014 decision to use the Flint River as the city’s primary water source.
During the period between April 2014 and October 2015, when the Flint River was being used to supply the city’s drinking water, residents began to suffer from health problems including rashes and cases of alopecia – a condition which causes hair loss.
It was later determined that the Flint River water was corroding the city’s water supply pipes, causing lead and other toxic metals to leach from the pipes into the drinking water used by the city’s residents. Other contaminants, including E. coli and high levels of chlorine used to kill the E. coli, were also found in the Flint water during the period when Flint River water was being sourced.
Cases of lead contamination were widespread throughout the city, and the E. coli is suspected to have been the cause of 12 deaths due to Legionnaire’s disease.
New cases of rashes and hair loss, despite assurances that Flint water is now safe
But even after the city switched back to using Lake Huron water, new cases of rashes and hair loss were reported, despite officials’ assurances that the current water supply is safe.
Dr. Nicole Lurie, of the Department of Health and Human Services, said: