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.

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Very Sad in every respect, but who really cares? Like the City Mgr. Shay III?

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Tonight, I'll be laying out at the council meeting at 6:30 an agenda for the city to follow regarding this issue in just a little over a minutes time; if they choose to ignore the issue still, it will illustrate their own commitment to negligence, their own ethical failure, their own shame.

I don't understand why the city would not be up in arms about these lead levels and doing everything in their power to see to it their citizens are protected.  Weather it is a goose neck or some other way the lead is getting into people's bodies this is not acceptable.  Is it the city who doesn't want to pay for the search and destroy efforts?  Every citizen in that area has good reason to be concerned and demanding the job gets done and their officials are not able or willing, toss them out and move on.  Don't allow someone to stay in office that looks the other way when it comes to the health and safety of your citizens. 

I copied the information below from the website linked in the title.  I'm wondering if there are not potentially several sources for this lead which is leading to high levels found in the children's blood. 

I don't think city council will need to worry about putting meters in a their beach because no one will want to visit a town with high lead levels. 

Finding out about lead in your water is only one part of the solution. Lead enters our bodies from many common contaminated sources other than drinking water, such as dust, soil and air. In fact, the EPA says the main source of lead exposure in the United States comes from inhaling dust or eating particles contaminated by paint chips. That's because lead was a common additive in house paint, gasoline and many other materials for years before its toxicity was known.
Children, especially fetuses and infants are the most vulnerable, says the Environmental Protection Agency, because it takes very little lead exposure to damage a child compared with an adult. Low levels of lead exposure are linked to damage to a child's blood cells and nervous system, as well as learning disabilities, poor hearing, impaired growth and more. In fact, the EPA calls lead poisoning the "number one environmental health threat in the U.S. for children ages 6 and younger."
Many experts suggest that parents get their child's lead level tested at ages 1 and 2, and possibly more often, depending on the area of the country. The test is easily done by a pediatrician, or at a local state, county or city department of health.
There appears to be  many problems with this good ole boy small town sort of operation and I admire how many citizens speak up (on this site and others) and continue to "hold the torch."  I'm looking forward to the follow up article about the Shop with a Cop and their accounting debacle as well.

That article (Shoplift with a Cop...) has just been released and featured. 

It is not appropriate to say that it is undeniable that the city's problems with lead in our kids' systems has to be the drinking water, but it makes a compelling case when Ludington has a double digit percentage rate each year of EBL of lead, when our smaller neighbors with older houses (but no hookup to the Ludington water system) and otherwise similar environments have yet to see a kid with EBL in the last decade. 

It's like hearing a scream coming from a locked room, unlocking it from its only entrance and seeing a man with a bloody knife standing over an oft-stabbed corpse, with nobody else present.  Chances are that guy is your killer.

I think that the process by which different communities test and report lead contamination information could be suspect. It may be that fudgeing the test results is a common practice.
And so it's a possibility that records and statistics regarding this situation may be skewed. Another excellent article X, very interesting.

Yup Willy, that's what I'm also thinking about Ludington's own stats. on this subject matter. But X revealed more realistic stats., and that also weighs heavily against the liars at city hall that want all this squashed!

From what I understand, the various district health departments gather the blood for the tests and send them to a common accredited laboratory for a region.  The process makes it quite unlikely that the results will be radically different, but I suppose it would be possible for an unscrupulous health department to send in blood from kids that they know do not have EBL of lead-- or if they want to, send in EBL of lead specimens if they want to justify their funding.  I doubt that's happening though, the levels are rather consistent in most zip codes.

Bowling Green Ohio is publishing an interactive map so residents can see where the lead pipes are located.  Seems like Ludington could use one of these.  Here is a link to the story published today:

Bowling Green to make map showing lead pipes available to the public

And Ludington city officials and utility workers would be well advised to check the graphic that aggressive lead fighters in Bowling Green use to display who exactly is responsible.  Notice they properly point to the pipe between the water main and the city shut-off valve as city maintained portion of pipe.  Our leaders and their crooked Manistee attorneys think that saying their lead pipes are your lead pipes does not make it so. 

The Ludington Lead-ers way of thinking insures these pipes never get replaced since they pass them off as your responsibility and you can't even access them.

Well, it would make perfect sense to have from main to shut-off owned by the city... If they are denying that and I own to the main then I would like to remove the LEAD gooseneck and replace it with a 3" pipe to increase my water pressure. And while I'm at it, I'd like to eliminate the shut-off; don't want them to have the ability to shut my water off.

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