Toxic levels of lead in the water supply in Flint, Mich., have been linked to elevated blood-lead levels in children, a new study has found.
The new findings “strongly implicate the water source change as the probable cause for the dramatic increase,” the Flint Journal reports, citing the study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
The report found the highest levels of lead in tap water corresponded with where young children with the highest blood-lead levels lived, according to the Journal. It also found “no significant change” in blood-lead levels outside of the city.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the director of pediatric residency at Hurley Children’s Hospital and the study’s lead researcher had previously found that the percentage of children with abnormally high blood-lead levels nearly doubled after Flint switched its water source in April 2014 to cheaper water from the Flint River—a discovery that the new study has confirmed. Flint Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency in mid-December.
“Everybody who drank this water or cooked with this water was exposed to lead,” said Dr. Hanna-Attisha.