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United Way Blog

In Wake of Flint Crisis, How Safe is Your Water?

More than three years after Flint, Michigan’s water supply was exposed to high levels of lead, residents there are still being instructed to use bottled or filtered water. In September, the water quality returned to pre-crisis levels, but city officials say residents should still avoid using tap water until they can replace more than 18,000 lead and galvanized service lines by 2020.

In the midst of the Flint Water Crisis, community members and organizations banded together to help each other and provide relief for those most affected by the lack of safe drinking water in the city.

United Way of Genesee County immediately set up the Flint Water Fund, which has raised more than $4 million to date to purchase water filtration systems and bottled water for residents, as well as provide emergency support services.  

In the wake of this crisis, widespread attention has been called to the issue of the quality of water in homes in other communities across the country. 

So how can you ensure your own water isn’t tainted with harmful toxins?

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends contacting your water supplier to request the Consumer Confidence Report, which outlines contaminants of concern in your area. You can also have your water tested by a certified lab, which runs about $20 to $100.

To reduce your risk to lead, EPA recommends the following:

  • Use only cold water for drinking, cooking and making baby formula. Boiling water does not remove lead from water.
  • Regularly clean your faucet’s aerator
  • Consider using a water filter certified to remove lead
  • Before drinking, flush your pipes by running your tap, taking a shower, doing laundry or a load of dishes.

The EPA and Center for Disease Control and Prevention agree there is no safe levels of lead in a child’s blood. Educate yourself on the dangers of lead and take steps to protect your family from exposure to lead-contaminated water. For more information on the Flint Water Crisis and to see how you can help, please visit www.flintcares.org.