Flint woman dealing with lead level spike in blood, water

Published: Jul. 27, 2017 at 6:37 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(07/27/17) - Overall, the water in Flint is considered safe, testing at 7 parts-per-billion (ppb), which is below the federal guideline of 15 ppb, but the experts say from time to time, this spike will happen at homes as "pieces of leaded solder or brass" occasionally fall into the water.

Vicki Marx isn't sure why she's all of a sudden one of the outliers.

"I was using it to wash my dishes, do my laundry, flush the toilet and I was showering in it," Marx said.

That is, until Marx got her water results back.

The water drop kit from July 5 shows her water with a lead level of 3818 ppb. The sentinel test from July 12 shows it rose to 4138 ppb.

"It went up 320 ppb," she said. "I got on the computer to double check and make sure they had it right."

Marx has been doing two tests because the results have always fluctuated, but the highest the lead has ever been is 95 ppb.

"Something's wrong and no one seems to know what it is," Marx said.

Marx has copper pipes, replaced her water heater in September and replaced her bathroom and kitchen fixtures in January. So, she says the state told her it has to be the foot-long galvanized pipe connecting the copper pipe to the meter in her basement.

"He seems to think I had a horizontal discharge in there and it's washing lead out of that pipe into my home," she said.

Marx has now stopped using her water completely, but it wasn't soon enough; her blood lead level test Tuesday came out at 38.4.

She was shocked.

"And just sat there and for the first time since all this started, I just wanted to break down and cry," she said. "I didn't ask them to pump that nasty Flint River Water into my home. That wasn't my idea. That was their decision."

Because it's located in her basement, Marx will have to pay to get the galvanized pipe replaced, but she says she's already working two jobs and can't afford it.