Exposure Assessment History

Uncovering the crisis

FLINT, Mich. - At a press conference on September 24, 2015, the Pediatric Public Health Initiative (PPHI) team released early findings showing an association between the water source switch and increased blood lead levels above 5ug/dl in young children.

The PPHI team then published the expanded research online in the American Journal of Public Health in January 2016.  This article was available in print shortly after.

The Centers for Disease Control validated the research by analyzing the available blood lead levels for all Flint children and reporting similar findings.  A report in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report was released on July 1, 2016.

The above research is an UNDERESTIMATION of lead exposure after the water switch.  Before the water crisis, less than 50% of children ages 1 and two were tested for blood lead levels.  Infants, the most neurodevelopmental vulnerable group, were rarely tested, and non breastfed infants consume the most amount of water proportionally, as the formula was generally reconstituted using tap water. 

Elevations in adult blood lead levels and animal blood lead levels were also reported during the Flint water crisis.


Our efforts now


The PPHI is leading an ambitious research study called Impact of Resilience, Interventions, Stress, and Environmental Exposure (IRISE) in Flint.  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funds this study and led by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. The purpose of the IRISE research study is to understand how lead exposure impacts children and identify sources of resilience. This knowledge may help community members in Flint provide children with the best interventions and may be generalizable to a large number of children in the United States who face similar experiences.

Mothers and their biological child currently age 4½ to 6 years old who lived in the City of Flint between April 2014 and October 2015 can participate in the IRISE study.  The children complete an in-depth developmental assessment, and mothers complete questionnaires and an interview about their child's development and behaviors, and about their well-being.

Research from the Flint water crisis