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Unions Helping Those In Their Community: The UAW To Bring Truckloads Of Water Donations To Food Bank In Flint In Effort To Help Residents Affected By City’s Water Emergency

Published Sunday, January 10, 2016
by Labor News Services

(FLINT, MICHIGAN) - United Auto Workers (UAW) Members from across the State of Michigan are donating truckloads of bottled water to Flint residents affected by the city's water emergency.  Several UAW Locals have asked how they could help residents and today (Sunday, January 10th) those Locals south of Flint will bring a caravan of trucks filled with cases of bottled water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan for distribution to Flint residents.

The city of Flint has been reeling since elevated lead levels were discovered in children.  The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has identified 43 Flint residents with elevated blood lead levels, including 23 children younger than age 6.

High levels of lead have plagued Flint's municipal water supply for at least a year, prompting extensive emergency measures to keep residents safe and just last week, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (Republican) declared a state of emergency for Genesee County as a result of the water crisis.

In November, Flint citizens filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of victims of high levels of lead against Snyder, the state of Michigan, the city of Flint and other state and city officials.

The investigation by the U.S. attorney's office comes more than a year after the city of more than 100,000 people began getting water from the Flint River instead of from Lake Huron via Detroit's water system.  The move was announced as a temporary, cost-cutting measure until Flint could get Great Lakes water on its own, according to the class-action lawsuit.

But then came residents' complaints about strangely colored tap water.  Studies showed that lead piping elevated lead levels 10 times higher than they had previously measured.  A local hospital discovered that the percentage of Flint children with elevated lead levels nearly doubled after the switch, according to CNN affiliate WDIV-TV in Detroit.

The health effects listed in the class-action suit include: skin lesions, hair loss, high levels of lead in the blood, vision loss, memory loss, depression and anxiety.

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