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Flint’s lead crisis may have caused hundreds of fetal deaths

When the city of Flint, Michigan, decided to begin drawing water from the Flint River in April 2014, residents were exposed to dangerously high levels of lead. Now, a new study—to be presented at a public policy conference in November—has calculated that without the switch, between 198 and 276 more children would have been born over the 17-month period from November 2013 to March 2015. The researchers arrived at that range by comparing the birth rate and fetal death rate in Flint to nearby areas that were not exposed to the poisonous water, The Washington Post reports. Lead exposure, which can damage nerve cells, is especially dangerous for children and pregnant women because they absorb a higher percentage of the metal into their bodies.