In a recent December 2016 Reuter's Investigates report, The thousands of U.S. locales where lead poisoning is worse than in..., we find that the problem of lead in our kids bloods is more widespread than commonly thought. Some are quite a bit higher, like Ludington, and Pennsylvania seems a bit worse than most of the Wolverine State.
In all, Reuters found nearly 3,000 areas with recently recorded lead poisoning rates at least double those in Flint during the peak of that city’s contamination crisis. And more than 1,100 of these communities had a rate of elevated blood tests at least four times higher, including Ludington.
The nationwide figures are incomplete, not all states monitor the blood lead levels of children and document those results, only 21 states had reliable results, and those were inconsistently monitored. Health departments in some states didn’t possess the data or respond to records requests. Others wouldn’t share it, saying they weren’t required to, or citing patient privacy laws.
In Michigan, data is collected for each zip code, sometimes allowing for a mix of city and country environments. The data the report covers is for the ten year period of 2006-2015. The Ludington Torch has previously covered the 2013-2015 period as concerns Ludington. Scottville, and Mason County. Incredibly, Mason County, with Ludington and Scottville zip codes well into double-digits as far as rate of children with lead poisoning, leading the state as a statistical outlier. In 2014 and 2015, the county fell only behind one other county in that stat.
A map of northwest lower Michigan with the rates of elevated child blood levels (EBL) of lead shows an amazing fact. Even though the character of the people of our zip codes are remarkably similar, and older houses with possible lead paint issues permeate all areas, the EBL of lead rates are almost non-existent except in one area over this ten year period. Area code 49431, featuring an area served by the City of Ludington Water Department.
As noted, Scottville, who receives water from that same source, is not far behind. In fact, if we zoom into the region for that ten year period, something amazing is learned (the numbers posted are those found on the interactive map at the Reuter's site):
Incredibly, the surrounding zip codes of Pentwater, Custer, Branch, Fountain, and Freesoil, all of which are at least partially (if not fully) in Mason County, have not had one child test positive for EBL of lead in a ten year span. None of these zip codes are hooked up to the City of Ludington water plant. Meanwhile, Scottville, which has a little more children tested than the other villages mentioned, has had 46. Ludington has a ten year average of 12% EBL during that same time.
It's not difficult to wonder why this may be the case. Ludington's utility maintenance supervisor admitted there were "quite a few" lead goosenecks in the city extending from the water main to a galvanized pipe leading to the city's cutoff valve. Even though the gooseneck is under the road, inaccessible to homeowners, universally recognized by utilities as part of their system, and laid down by city utility workers of yore, our city leaders affirmed at this meeting that it is not their responsibility, it is the homeowners who probably never heard about goosenecks in their water system until this year, if at all. That's balderdash.
Our city leaders see the data of our kids being systematically poisoned with lead, and their reaction was best summed up by Councilor Winczewski, an officer of a local environmental-awareness organization at that same meeting: "There's no lead in any pipes that we know of in the city, so in 19 years that Darrell has been down in those holes, he has not noticed any lead pipes down there... I think as Ludington city council, we have addressed all these issues, and unless situations change or new information is brought forward, the city council can put this concern aside."
Honey, we're just getting started on this issue. I will not sit idly by while these people who run this utility act as if the health of our children and our children-to-be of this area are not their concern.
And about a year or so ago, Ludington had to let one of Mayor Ryan's buddies on the ethics committee in Lud. get relieved because of a DUI if I remember correctly, fine group to represent ethics lol.
Improper and only leads to suspicion. Who can really be trusted when they are all appointing one another.
Aquaman, you are incorrect. I pointed out to the public that Branden Ray Dunblazier had been arrested for DWI just one month after he had been appointed by his longtime classmate and friend Mayor Ryan Cox in the article Ethics and Ethanol and then I told the City council on 2-22-2016:
"It should be publicly noted that one of our city's Board of Ethics members was recently arraigned for a DWI. Branden Dunblazier appears to have shown something other than ethical behavior when he got behind the wheel and allegedly drove drunk, endangering the lives of those in the community. I encourage the mayor to encourage his old friend to step down from the board he was appointed to less than a month before this incident to maintain what little integrity this city government has."
That never happened despite Dunblazier shortly thereafter being found guilty as noted in the April 22, 2016 MCP. Brandyin' Drunkblazier still serves as a Board of Ethics member unashamedly according to the city BOE website. If that doesn't serve to show what a waste of space this board actually is, then note that I tried to use this agency back in 2009 to show the LPD police chief had violated two sections of the city's ethical code involving whistleblower protection and divulging confidential information.
After they convened in a meeting without public notice or any contacting of myself, in violation of the city code, the city attorney helped determine for them that they could only enforce financial transgressions of city officers, also in direct conflict with what the city code actually says. Ludington's Board of Ethics is seriously bored of ethics.
Shocking X, I had thought he was relieved or voluntarily quit. I should have known, the friends and family of totally unethical people, still remain in their appointed positions, even if it's the ethics board. Sorry for the error on my part.
No problem, Aq, I had also thought he may have moved on quietly at around the same time Mayor Ryan did, but a check of the city's website shows he still serves. If this board was a legitimate agency of quelling unethical behavior, it would have been swamped over the years just by what I find out about.