Bathing in Flint, Michigan a Challenge to CitizensMay 26, 2016
Despite the water source changing back to the Detroit River in an effort to alleviate the Flint, Michigan water crisis, the residents are still battling issues of safe water for drinking as well as bathing.
Some people have joined inexpensive gyms outside of Flint not to necessarily exercise, but to use their bathing facilities. Last month, others waited in a long line to get a makeshift shower called Pump-N-Sprays: nozzles and foot pumps than can be attached to five-gallon water bottles. Others go to truck stops or to friends or family outside of Flint to bathe, according to The New York Times.
In spite of assurances from government scientists that evidence has not been found that the city's lead-tainted water is unsafe for bathing, reports of rashes, itchiness, and hair loss persist. Dr. Nicole Lurie, an assistant secretary at the United States Department of Health and Human Services, is coordinating a federal recovery effort asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work on investigating whether the water quality is contributing to the skin problems, the Times reports.
The level of contamination in Flint's water is declining, but the lead levels are still dangerous. Federal and state official repeatedly tell residents they cannot get lead poisoning from bathing in the lead-laced water, unless they ingest it.
Investigators spoke to 538 people who complained of skin problems and of those, 388 had an active rash that appeared after the water source was switched back to Detroit water. According to Dr. Jevon McFadden, a medical epidemiologist for the CDC, more than 80 percent of the Flint population reported "changing their bathing habits substantially because of the water crisis."