The Stream, September 22: Fertility Rates Fell During Flint Water Crisis, Study Finds

The Global Rundown

Fertility rates declined and fetal deaths increased during the Flint water crisis, a new study finds. Authorities were aware of the legionella bacteria in Flint’s water a year before it was publicly announced, according to the first witness in the preliminary examination of Michigan Health and Human Services director Nick Lyon. The government of Beijing, China removes a ban on winter construction projects from their website just days after instating it. The weight of Hurricane Harvey floodwaters is causing the earth’s crust beneath Houston, Texas to sink. Hurricane Maria, now a Category 3 storm, continues its rampage through the Caribbean.

“It’s nothing short of a major disaster.” –Ricardo Rossello, Governor of Puerto Rico, in reference to the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria. The storm left many Puerto Ricans without electricity, which Rossello said could take months to restore. Maria caused heavy rains and flooding in the Dominican Republic on Thursday and is expected to pass by the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas on Friday. The storm, now a Category 3, is unlikely to make landfall in the United States. Reuters

By The Numbers

33 trillion gallons Amount of water that Hurricane Harvey deposited on southern Texas, adding an estimated 275 trillion pounds of weight to United States’ southern landmass. This has caused the earth’s crust to sink by two centimeters, according to Chris Milliner, a geoscientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It is uncertain whether the earth’s crust will return to its original level. The Independent

12 months Amount of time that passed between the discovery of legionella bacteria in Flint’s water supply and a public announcement of the contamination, according to a testimony by Tim Becker, the former deputy director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Becker was the first witness in the preliminary hearing against MDHHS director Nick Lyon, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office. Legionnaires’ disease was responsible for 12 deaths during the Flint water crisis. AP News

In context: In Flint water probe, five officials face involuntary manslaughter charge.

Science, Studies, And Reports

The high levels of lead in drinking water during the Flint water crisis led to fewer pregnancies and more fetal deaths, according to a recent analysis of Michigan health records. Health economists from the University of Kansas and West Virginia University found that fertility rates among Flint women decreased by 12% and fetal deaths increased by 58% between April 2014 and the end of 2015. Chicago Tribune

On The Radar

Less than a week after officials in Beijing, China announced the suspension of winter construction and water projects, the proposed ban was removed from the government’s website. The ban was intended to help improve the city’s air quality, but it is now unclear if the prohibition will stay in place. Reuters