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Turns Out The Flint Water Crisis Had A Major Impact On Women’s Fertility

 

A new working paper from West Virginia University and the University of Kansas found that the Flint water crisis was associated with 12 percent lower fertility rates and 58 percent higher fetal death rates in women from the town.

Related: Is Your Tap Water Safe?

“This represents a couple hundred fewer children born that otherwise would have been,” one of the study’s authors, David Slusky, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics at the University of Kansas, said in a press release.

After officials switched the public water source to the Flint River in 2014, the new water corroded pipes, infamously causing lead to contaminate the H20, according to the National Resource Defense Council. Not only were residents plagued by rashes and hair loss, but children were particularly affected. Lead poisoning is particularly gruesome for little, growing bodies, and it can cause developmental delays, learning problems, vomiting, and seizures, among other symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic. (Clean your water with this ultralight water purifier bottle from the Women’s Health Boutique.)

Here are some reasons for a late period—other than pregnancy:

In babies who are exposed in utero—lead in a mother’s body can cross the placenta to expose the fetus—they risk premature birth, low birth weight, and slow growth, the Mayo Clinic points out.

Related: Your Baby Food Might Have Lead In It—Here’s What You Need To Know

In the new report, the authors looked at birth and death certificates from Flint and comparable Michigan cities before and after the water crisis. They also found that Flint babies were born with a 5 percent lower birth weight, suggesting they were less healthy than other children in nearby communities. What’s more, the researchers were able to rule out that residents stopped trying to have babies in the first place (officials did not issue a warning about lead until a few weeks before switching off the toxic water), suggesting that this drop in fertility was due to miscarriage or stillbirth.

Related: 7 Things Your Ob-Gyn Won’t Tell You…But Really Wants To

Worried about your H2O? Your water shouldn’t have more than 15ppb of lead (you can test it yourself with this kit) , which is considered the upper limit of the EPA’s action level, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, Women’s Health outlines some smart steps to take to ensure your drinking water is safe, like getting an annual water report from your water supplier, buying a home-testing kit, and filtering the water you drink.

 

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