As the water crisis continues in Flint, MI, a non-profit group is stepping up to help. The problem in Flint is that the city is inundated with contaminated water, which contains traces of lead that are high enough to cause permanent damage to people, especially young children, who drink it. As the state and federal governments continue to twiddle their thumbs instead of taking concrete steps to help the people of Flint, others around the country are clamoring for increased testing of their own water supplies.
About 96 million Americans live in areas where lead pipes carry their tap water, and many are concerned that they too face lead poisoning. Those pipes are supposed to be tested and, if found faulty, replaced, but that process doesn’t really happen like it should. The EPA and local governments have been accused of slacking off, or “gaming” reports so that water supplies seem to be up to code in order to not have to, potentially, cut into budgets to replace water pipes.
A non-profit called Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) has taken it upon themselves to help. They’ve teamed up with a Virginia Tech professor who helped test Flint’s water to get testing kits to people who are afraid their water is contaminated. They can collect water and send it back to have it tested. The kits do cost money, around $65 each, but the group has a system in place where lower income families can get them for as little as $12. They’re asking others to sometimes pay more than $65 to offset those loses, and it seems to be working out. It’s a great example of using crowdsourcing in the non-profit sector to help people help each other.
Hopefully HBBF can bring in enough data to get the EPA to shake off their complacency and get the government to follow it’s own laws and get water systems replaced.