Here’s the Latest on Flint’s Water

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How is Flint doing these days? Here’s the most recent report from Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services:

Blood lead levels tend to be seasonal, going up in the summer thanks to old lead in the soil getting kicked up during dry weather. As you can see, those summer peaks have been higher than normal since 2014 thanks to the ongoing contamination of Flint’s water supply. However, the 2015 summer peak was below the 2014 peak, and the Q4 level for 2015 is below the Q4 level for 2014. This suggests pretty strongly that Flint’s water pipes are returning to their pre-crisis state.

And how many houses still have lead concentrations above the EPA’s “action level” of 15 parts per billion? According to the residential testing report through Sunday, 786 out of 11,785 homes tested had levels above 15 ppb. That’s 6.7 percent. About 140 homes had levels above 100 ppb and 19 were above 1,000 ppb.

This is….sort of normal, actually. The number of homes with very high lead levels is unusual and needs to addressed immediately, but the overall number of 6.7 percent above the action level is well within the federal limit of 10 percent. Flint’s water appears to be in fairly good shape, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the 2016 summer spike is no higher than it was before 2014.

But nobody trusts the EPA or the Michigan DEQ, so probably none of this matters. If I lived in one of the 11,000 houses in Flint that tested below 15 ppb, I’d drink the water. But it’s hard to blame the residents for feeling otherwise.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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