To save money, officials in Flint, Michigan stopped using water from Lake Huron to draw it instead from the Flint River.
The problem: Flint River water was polluted and corrosive causing lead to leach from the city's old pipes.
Eden Wells, Michigan's chief medical executive, has said that all children who drank the city's water since April 2014 have been exposed to lead. That's 8,657 children, based on Census data.
There is NO safe level of lead in the body, but the impacts of lead are considered most severe on the developing brains and nervous systems of children and fetuses.
Astoundingly, Flint, Michigan based General Motors stopped using Flint River water when they recognized it was too corrosive. City officials were aware of this, and hoped it didn't "set a precedent for people to jump off the Flint system." (Michigan Live, GM's decision to stop using Flint River water will cost Flint $400,000 - 10/14/2014)
Flint River water has also been linked to an uptick of Legionnaies' Disease. State officials have been warned about this, but did nothing.
It's not just Flint, Michigan that is experiencing this crisis. As the NPR report Beyond Flint Michigan indicates, communities around the county, particularly in the rural south, have contaminated drinking water.