Michigan: Bankruptcy, lead-filled water, and ridiculous posters

Flint, Michigan has been dealing with a water crisis for almost 2 years now, ever since they switched water sources to the Flint River in order to cut costs. The crisis, of course, is the fact that the lead concentrations in the water have been unsafe for quite some time, with many kids and adults finding out that they have elevated levels of lead in their bloodstream. In one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the nation, the last thing Flint needs is a water source that can potentially cause mental and physical maladies for their residents.

It took a lot of protesting by the citizens and the local government to bring awareness to this issue, and eventually the Michigan government took notice. They have finally switched back to the original water source (the Detroit River), which should put this crisis to rest, finally.

I’m not a Flint resident (although I like to go there to visit the best concert venue in the state, The Machine Shop), but I just noticed this poster that was given out/shown to Flint residents last month. Now, if this isn’t terrible PR handling, then I don’t know what is…

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What in the HELL made the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) think that this was a good idea? Which pot-smoking intern came up with this poster, and who in the hell approved it? A few thoughts:

-Kids will drink bathwater whether you “let them” or not. As a parent of a 2 year old, I am fully aware of toddlers’ bathwater drinking habits.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, warm water will have much higher levels of lead than cold water. Unless you bathe yourself or your kids in ice cold water, there is a relatively higher risk of lead poisoning. Funny, I didn’t see that fact listed anywhere on that Comic Sans font nightmare of a poster.

-One thing the poster got right, mostly, is “lead in bath water will not soak into your skin fast or at high levels”. In fact, lead doesn’t soak into skin AT ALL. Of course, it can soak into mucous membranes, so if you or your child have any cuts or abrasions, it would be wise to take extra caution.

Now, I am glad to see Flint residents finally getting safe tap water. But this poster is just the icing on a lead-contaminated cake. The Rick Snyder administration needs to get some remedial lessons on PR, ASAP. And some graphic design lessons wouldn’t hurt, either.

 

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