Michigan State University awarded $3.2 million to monitor lead-exposed Flint residents

Michigan State University (MSU) is receiving $3.2 million to create a registry of Flint, Michigan, residents who have been exposed to the 2014-2015 crisis in which the city's water supply was poisoned with lead, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said.

The initiative, which is the first installment of a $14.4 million grant that will be dispersed within four years, will help MSU monitor the health of those who were affected by lead exposure, assist in developing ways of treating the affects and help reduce and eliminate lead in the city's water system, HHS said in a release. MSU will reportedly be working with City of Flint leaders and other community organizations to use the HHS grant properly.

“This funding is a continuation of the Trump administration’s commitment to support the affected or at-risk residents of Flint, Michigan, who have been exposed to lead-contaminated drinking water,” HHS Secretary Tom Price said in the release. “Flint residents will benefit from having their health monitored over time and from being readily connected to services that will help reduce the health effects of lead exposure. Information collected by the registry will guide important health decisions and recommendations for the City of Flint and the State of Michigan for years to come.”

The Flint registry will note a participant's exposure date and update their health status, as well as updating child development progress, since lead exposure tends to affect children's cognitive and academic skills.

“CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is committed to supporting the Flint Lead Exposure Registry as part of our ongoing efforts across the country to reduce and prevent exposure to lead,” Brenda Fitzgerald, CDC director and administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, said in the release. “Using our experience with the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program, we will work hard to make sure that the registry meets the needs of Flint residents affected by this crisis.”

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