SMOKING GUN: Michigan Scientist Told Colleague to ‘Bump Out’ High Lead Test Results to Avoid Having to Tell the Public
In recent days so-called “smoking gun” evidence has surfaced in the Flint, Michigan, lead contamination scandal. The Guardian is reporting that a state environmental official suggested that a water collection technician who was gathering samples for a suburban Detroit private water system ‘bump out’ a test result that contained very high levels of lead by testing more homes.
By doing so that could eliminate the need to send out a “lead public notice,” according to the 2008 email, which would then have alerted residents that their water contained dangerously high levels of the neurotoxic heavy metal.
“Oh my gosh, I’ve never heard [it] more black and white,” Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech professor and lead expert who helped uncover the Flint water crisis.
“In the Flint emails, if you recall, it was a little bit implied… this is like telling the strategy, which is: ‘You failed, but if you go out and get a whole bunch more samples that are low, then you can game it lower,'” he continued. “It just shows that this culture of corruption and unethical, uncaring behavior predated Flint by at least six years.”
The Guardian reported further:
Despite the email, residents in that jurisdiction were later notified of the high lead level.
The Chateaux Du Lac Condominiums, a homeowners association in Fenton, Michigan, operates on a private water system. Since its inception, records show, the association has struggled with high lead levels time and again. The system has exceeded federal lead action levels, set to trigger remediation efforts such as public education campaigns or expensive corrosion control, eight times over the past 20 years.
“Bump this one out”
Many of the water pipes in and around Detroit and Flint were installed early in the 20th century.
In September 2008, a water lab technician gathered five samples from the nearly 45 homes in the association, which was the minimum amount of samples required for analysis. As per protocol, the technician submitted the five samples to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for testing.
Of those five, one registered 115 parts per billion (ppb) of lead, 10 times higher than the federally mandated level of 15 ppb, when enforcement action is triggered. That level technically put Chateaux’s water system out of compliance, The Guardian noted.
“On 16 September 2008, Adam Rosenthal, an MDEQ environmental quality analyst, sent an email to the technician to discuss the results. He copied Mike Prysby, the state employee who was criminally charged last week for his role in the city of Flint’s two-year lead contamination crisis, along with state employee Stephen Busch,” the news site said. Prysby and Busch have been accused of “improperly [manipulating] the collection of water samples” and for “removing from samples to be included” in federal reports by the state attorney general’s office.
“I just saw the results – 115 ppb for lead is a bit high,” Rosenthal wrote in the email. “Since this is an annual round of monitoring, which ends 9/30/08, there is still time to collect more samples and possibly bump this one out.”
Who could possibly think more and bigger government is the answer to our political and social problems?
As Natural News has reported, the state of Michigan is not solely to blame for this mess. The federal Environmental Protection Agency was aware of the problem but did not intervene. The regional EPA director, Susan Hedman, was not prosecuted, however, or even charged with criminal negligence. Rather, she was just allowed to resign.
And it’s not just the EPA that is guilty of this kind of malfeasance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to cover up the link between MMR vaccines and autism, despite an admission by one of the agency’s own scientists that he hid the evidence.
When some Americans argue for more and bigger government at the local, state and federal level, you have to wonder why, considering how often government entities fail us, lie to us and cover up wrong-doing.
Could your family unknowingly be drinking or bathing in water contaminated with toxic chemicals? Visit EPAwatch.org to learn how you can find out while helping to contribute to a safer water supply for all Americans!