Flint Water Crisis Linked to Increased Special Needs, Poor School Performance

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The Flint Water Crisis has led to an increased number of children with special needs and poor academic performance, according to researchers per Daily Mail.

A recent study by sociologists at the University of Michigan and Princeton University analyzed student educational records from kindergarten to high school from 2007 to 2019 in Michigan.

According to the study, the Flint Water Crisis, which exposed thousands of children to toxic levels of lead, the rate of young children diagnosed with special needs increased by eight percent after 2014.

Boys saw a nearly 11 percent increase in special needs, while girls experienced a four percent increase.

Starting from 2015, children from roughly ages nine to 13 in grades three through eight saw a significant decline in math achievement, according to the study. Researchers “found a ‘medium’ effect size according to educational intervention standards, losing the equivalent of five months of learning progress that hadn’t recovered by 2019,” the Daily Mail reports.

Children from poorer families were also disproportionately impacted in math achievement.

Increased lead exposure has been previously linked to behavioral and cognitive problems, mental illness, and underdevelopment.

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