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Survey: Majority of Flint households report health issues

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A new report finds a majority of households in Flint say they have suffered health problems in the wake of the city’s water crisis.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services asked the federal Centers for Disease Control to conduct a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response, or CASPER. Researchers visited 182 Flint households.

Health officials quizzed Flint residents back in May about their health issues since the city switched back to Detroit water. That's after lead was discovered in Flint’s tap water. Water started flowing from Detroit again in October 2015. During the previous 18 months, the city's tap water came from the Flint River, which was not properly treated, damaging pipes which leached lead. The river water is also suspected in a deadly Legionnaire's disease outbreak.

Researchers found two-thirds of households reported at least one adult had one or more new or worsening behavioral health concerns since October 2015.

A majority of households also report people under 21 having problems with trouble concentrating, depressed mood, and anxiety or stress.

“Behavioral health needs in the Flint water crisis were apparent when I arrived in Flint in January, and federal agencies have been working with the state and community to meet these needs,” says Dr. Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for preparedness and response with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who is leading the federal government’s response to the Flint water crisis. 

The survey also finds most Flint households report physical health issues as well. Common physical problems include skin rash or irritation, fatigue, nausea, forgetfulness, and muscle aches or pains.

Health officials say the survey’s results will help guide ongoing recovery efforts in Flint.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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