Flint mother says water supply gave her son lead poisoning

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FLINT (WJRT) - (09/04/15) - A mother of four is pointing fingers at the City of Flint.

She claims her child got lead poisoning from the water in her south side home, but city officials continue to say the water meets all state and federal standards.

Virginia Tech Researchers said harsh water from the Flint River is leading to elevated lead levels.

Whatever the cause, LeeAnne Walters says her son Gavin was poisoned by it.

"He gets bathed in bottled water, we wash his clothes outside of the home and he's not allowed to drink," Walters said.

Gavin started losing his hair, he couldn't gain weight and he had a constant rash.

According to his medical records reviewed by ABC12 News, Gavin tested positive for lead poisoning.

"I cried because of the exposure list of what lead can do to a child," Walters said.

Walters blamed the Flint water system.

When the City of Flint came to test her water, it confirmed her fears.

The Environmental Protection Agency states drinking water shouldn't exceed more than 15 parts per billion, or ppb, for lead.

The City's tests showed levels nearly seven times higher.

Walters said the City of Flint brought in a contractor to replace some of the pipes leading to her home, but the problem didn't go away completely.

"The city is still putting out reports today that the water is fine, that everything is OK, but it is not," Walters said.

Her story sparked researchers at Virginia Tech University to do their own testing.

Out of 30 samples taken from Walters' home, the average was 2,500 ppb.

It wasn't just her house; dozens of other samples exceeded that threshold, according to lead researcher Marc Edwards.

Edwards advises children under 6 and pregnant women avoid drinking the water.

"Don't drink it, don't use it to brush your teeth, try not to bathe them in it," Walters said.

Gavin's health is improving, but Walters is concerned over cognitive development from the exposure. She wants his story to serve as a warning.

"I don't want any other mom to feel how I felt, that I went through," Walters said.

The City of Flint has acknowledged the findings by researchers at Virginia Tech. A statement from Flint Mayor Dayne Walling said they are working with the Department of Environment to develop a plan to address any lead that could be in the water supply.

They hope to have that plan ready by early 2016.

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