Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha tells “60 Minutes” on CBS that early testing results show that 80% of children exposed to lead during the Flint water crisis will require services for a language, learning or intellectual disorder.
The Flint doctor, who rang the alarm in 2015 about kids with high lead levels after the state-appointed emergency manager switched the city’s water supply to the Flint River, is set to detail the results of extensive neuropsychological assessments of 174 kids on the program Sunday. She estimates 14,000 Flint children younger than 6 were exposed. Before the crisis, 15% of Flint children required special education services, per CBS.
“There is no safe level of lead. … It is an irreversible neurotoxin. It attacks the core of what it means to be you, and impacts cognition — how children think,” Hanna-Attisha told CBS. “[Lead] actually drops IQ levels. It impacts behavior, leading to things like developmental delays.”
State Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) said he’ll continue to fight for Flint residents.
“From the very beginning, we realized the potential for the water crisis to have a lasting impact on our community, and especially on our kids. As the youngest victims of the crisis grow older, we are understanding more about just how devastating that impact is and what resources our community will need to make sure Flint kids have the learning and health support they require.”
But she told CBS about the impact of lead on young children: “There’s no antidote. There’s no cure. We can’t take away this exposure.”