MDEQ’s Word Analogy for Flint:
“Lead in Drinking Water” is to “Childhood Lead Poisoning,” as an “Apple” is to _______________?
The correct answer is “Car,” at least according to MDEQ’s Brad Wurfel in a recorded interview on NBC-Flint just yesterday. That is right. Even after all that has happened, MDEQ thinks that lead in water has as much to do with childhood lead poisoning, as apples have to do with cars! This is the kind of logic that created the Flint water crisis in the first place.
Our heart does go out to MDEQ Director Dan Wyant, who has had nothing to do with creating this problem, but is repeatedly misled by his top staff. Wyant recently acknowledge that “mistakes were made” in not practicing corrosion control that caused very high levels of lead to leach into Flint’s tap water, but he wouldn’t apologize to the citizens of Flint.
In the text report accompanying the NBC interview, Wurfel also mis-states public education information. Wurfel stated that “lead represents approximately less than 20 per cent on the average of lead found in kids’ blood as the source.” The actual Federal Language reads:
“Lead in drinking water, although rarely the sole cause of lead poisoning, can significantly increase a person’s total lead exposure, particularly the exposure of infants who drink baby formulas and concentrated juices that are mixed with water. EPA estimates that drinking water can make up 20% or more of a person’s total exposure to lead. FR 141.85 p 685 (1991).”
Clearly, “less than 20%” is different than “20% or more.” For example, it is well known that lead in water can cause up to 100% of exposure for infants drinking formula. MDEQ needs a fact-checker. It seems that we have a long way to go, before MDEQ realizes its promise of making changes so that their “program becomes a national leader in public health protection.”
For those new to the story, we have compiled a summary table of MDEQ quotes below.
Summary of quotes from MDEQ
Primary Authors: Dr. Marc Edwards and Siddhartha Roy