HAMTRAMCK: What you need to know about high lead levels found in water


The Yemeni American News

The City of Hamtramck is urging residents to take a series of measures to prevent lead poisoning after elevated lead levels found in two homes.
They include running tap water for a long time before drinking it and using bottled water for baby formula in homes that use lead pipes.
Routine tap water testing mandated by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) had led the discovery last month, Hamtramck City Manager Kathy Angerer told the Yemeni American News.
Every three years the city collects samples from five homes that are likely to have lead service lines or copper plumbing with lead solder.
“October test results from five homes showed samples over the ‘Action Level’ in two of these homes,” Angerer said.
The city explained last month that “actionable level” is not a health standard, but a level that requires caution and further investigation.
Hamtramck promptly established a “Rapid Response Team” comprised of various officials and departments after finding out the results, according Angerer.
“We took action because there is nothing more important to us than the health and safety of our residents and their families,” she said.
Now they are testing homes throughout the city.
Until the city gets the results, they are asking residents to take the following steps:
If you do not have a lead service line, run the water for 30 seconds to two minutes, or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature
If you do have a lead service line, run the water for three to five minutes to flush water from your building’s plumbing and the lead service line
Use cold tap water for drinking and cooking
Use cold tap water for preparing baby formula. If you have a lead service line, use bottled water or a lead reducing filter to prepare baby formula
Do not boil your water. Boiling will not reduce the amount of lead in water
‘Health problems’
Lead poisoning can be dangerous, especially to children, who may develop long-term brain defects if exposed to the metal.
“Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body,” reads a statement on Hamtramck’s website.
“The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women.”
The city, home to large immigrant communities including Arab and Yemeni Americans, is also providing information in Arabic on its website www.hamtramck.us.
Fears over lead exposure in Michigan have grown after thousands of Flint residents were poisoned by the metal a few years ago.
In Flint, where the state had taken over local governance, insufficient water treatment allowed lead from water pipes to leach into the drinking water. Scientists estimate that up to 12,000 children were exposed to lead there.
Hamtramck said it will conduct additional monitoring of the water system.
“In 2019, we will be collecting 60 samples and, working with MDEQ, will determine if corrective actions are necessary to reduce corrosion in household plumbing,” Angerer said.
She added that the city will be removing lead lines from its distribution system “over a period of time”.