Skip to main content

A working paper by David Slusky of the University of Kansas and Daniel Grossman of West Virginia University asserts that Flint's poisonous drinking water could be correlated to nearly 300 extra fetal deaths according to the Huffington Post.

Overall, “between 198 and 276 more children would have been born had Flint not enacted the switch in water,” according to the working paper by Daniel Grossman of West Virginia University and David Slusky of the University of Kansas. Using other Michigan cities for comparison, the pair looked at fertility and fetal death rates in Flint before and after the city’s water became contaminated with lead.

Slusky found that fetal death rates increased in Washington D.C. following a similar chemical treatment to the city's old pipes. Similar to Flint, these chemical treatments leached lead from the city's pipes which caused a spike in the amount of lead found in the city's water. Washington's experience with an increase in fetal deaths occurred in 2001, nearly 15-years prior to Flint's increase of fetal deaths.

Slusky noted that the increase in fetal deaths was similar to an increase observed by researchers in Washington, D.C., after a chemical treatment change caused the water to leach lots of lead from the city’s old pipes. A 2014 study by Virginia Tech’s Marc Edwards revealed that fetal death rates rose as much as 63 percent in the District of Columbia after treatment changes spiked the city’s water with lead in 2001.