Jackson, Mississippi To Suffer Same Water Fate As Flint, Michigan?

Mississippi has warned Jackson residents of the potential hazards of drinking the city’s contaminated tap water. Are pregnant women and kids facing lead poisoning like those in Flint, Michigan?

The world has seen the lead catastrophe that has plagued the water supply in Flint. These particular Michigan residents have encountered poisoning on unprecedented levels. Well, it appears that Jackson, Mississippi, could be on a similar path. However, city officials have forewarned about lead poisoning as a possibility, says Clarion-Ledger.

During an informational release from city officials via the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), the source mentions that the water hasn’t been declared “unsafe.” Likewise, the city has made it a point to distinguish itself from the situation in Flint, Michigan by clarifying its position on the water’s potential lead poisoning. According to Clarion-Ledger, it states as follows.

“The City of Jackson’s source water and finished drinking water leaving the plant do not contain lead. Lead enters the water from the corrosion of materials containing lead. When water is in contact with service lines and plumbing containing lead for several hours, the lead may enter drinking water.”

“Homes built prior to 1988 are more likely to have lead pipes or solder. Public Water Systems like the City of Jackson’s are required to take measures that control corrosion by treated water. The City’s plants do have corrosion control systems; however, this exceedance signals an immediate need to optimize the corrosion control systems we use.”

At this point, no city wants to end up with the tragic water situation as Flint. In January, says Clarion-Ledger, some residents in the city of Jackson “tested positive for lead above the recommended levels.” The source notes that MSDH used a 58-home residence sample during its testing procedures. Of this sample, 22 percent tested at “lead levels between 0.017 and 0.02 — above the federal action level of 0.015,” as reports the source.

The source also states that MSDH will also continue to monitor the lead-to-water levels and Jackson’s attempt to reduce corrosives in the city’s water supply. In the same forewarning, the source — along with that from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — states that Jackson residents should take several precautions before drinking or cooking with the water.

  • Run your tap water as “cold” for approximately two minutes before attempting to drink or use for cooking purposes.
  • Never use “hot” tap water for either of the aforementioned uses in the previous bullet.
  • In regards to children under 5-years-old and pregnant women, only filtered and bottled waters should be used for drinking and cooking.
  • Likewise, baby formula should be ready-to-feed and made with filtered or bottled water.

Although lead poisoning happens in several cities across the United States, MSDH mentions that it’s “one of the most preventable environmental health problems in young children.” Effects of lead water range from stunned growth or brain damage and learning difficulties to death. While it’s almost common hearsay, lead poisoning is no lighthearted topic.

Also, lead water may not show affects in young children immediately. Unfortunately, symptoms develop over time — if at all. According to MSDH, sometimes, there are no symptoms until the poisoning is so great that drastic effects are already in place and doing considerable damage to the body.

Here’s a better look into Flint’s lead poisoning situation. The CDC reports that the only way to know that there’s lead in your drinking water is to have it tested.

“You cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water. Therefore, you must ask your water provider whether your water has lead in it.”

However, when Flint residents turn on their water in-home, it’s painstakingly obvious that something is wrong with the supply coming through the faucets. That’s how extreme the situation is in Flint, Michigan.

As an example, the city of Jackson has chosen to forewarn its residents about the possibility of lead in its water supply, rather than allow years of corrosion to develop — permitting it to continuously flow into the homes of so many citizens, “in order to save money.”

What’s your stance on the pending situation in Jackson, Mississippi? Will further lead water poisoning ensue, or will city officials nip it in the bud before the levels rise beyond control? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News]