Did Detroit Mayor’s Office Suppress Damaging Water Shutoffs Study?

Matthew Kovac of the Great Lakes Beacon interviewed Monica of We the People of Detroit for a story on the potential that the Detroit mayor’s office has been effectually silencing communications of the results of the recent research study conducted by Henry Ford Health System’s Global Health Initiative and We the People of Detroit.

Excerpt below – read the full article here:

“‘All we know is that we were told by representatives of Henry Ford Health Systems and the Global Health Initiative that they could not speak to the issues because it would jeopardize some of their negotiations for contracts with the city of Detroit,’ Lewis-Patrick said. ‘They were not allowing anyone to speak to these issues because of fear of reprisal from the mayor of Detroit. So it goes back to the mayor.’

Lewis-Patrick noted the positive impact of some of Henry Ford’s city contracts, like their health centers in Detroit schools, but said they must not come at the expense of informing Detroiters about the dangers of the city’s shutoff policy.

‘The health and welfare of Detroiters should be the first concern and priority of both the mayor and Henry Ford Health Systems,’ Lewis-Patrick said.”

Bridge Magazine | Are Detroit water shutoffs and illnesses related?

Bridge Magazine has published an article on the Detroit water crisis and We the People of Detroit’s co-research project with the Henry Ford Global Health Initiative.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

“The records showed that patients who lived on a block with shutoffs were 1.55 times more likely to have a water-associated illness, even when other socioeconomic situations are taken into consideration.

Water activists used the findings to renew their call for a moratorium on the shutoffs, and planned to begin a robo-call campaign this week bringing the issue to the attention of city residents.

‘Common sense tells us that you can’t deprive tens of thousands of people of water and not suffer serious public health consequences,’ said Monica Lewis-Patrick of the We the People group.”

Water Shutoffs Impact Public Health: a collaborative study with Henry Ford Health System

View/download fact sheet
View/download full research paper

“A new study by We the People of Detroit Community Research Collective and Henry Ford Health System shows a correlation between water shutoffs and water-related illnesses.

1. Patients admitted to Henry Ford Hospital with water-related illnesses were significantly
more likely to live on a block that has experienced water shutoffs. Patients diagnosed with skin
and soft tissue diseases were 1.48 times more likely to live on a block that has experienced
water shutoffs.

2. Living on a block that has experienced water shutoffs increases the likelihood that the
patient will be diagnosed with a water-related illness.

3. Patients who are most likely to experience water-related illnesses resulting from water
shutoffs are also the most socially vulnerable, according to the Center for Disease Control’s
‘Social Vulnerability Index.’

NEXT STEPS
What should happen next?
1. The City of Detroit must institute an immediate moratorium on all water shutoffs.

2. The City of Detroit must institute a water affordability plan based on a resident’s ability to pay.

3. The City of Detroit must release water shutoff data necessary to complete a more thorough study of the impact of water shutoffs on public health, with an analysis as to how these conditions further contribute to racial health inequities.

How can I protect my family from these water-related illnesses?
1. Use bottled water for drinking or try to get water from a neighbor, ESPECIALLY for vulnerable populations.

2. Be careful not to reach hands into an open source (bucket/jug) of water. This can contaminate the water.

3. If the toilet cannot be flushed and human waste is sitting in it, periodically pour a bucket of water directly into the bowl to manually flush it; gravity will do the trick and send it to the sewer.

4. You can use rubbing alcohol to clean hands and wounds as much as possible. Consider asking neighbors or friends to come use their shower to bathe yourself and your family.

5. Once your water is reconnected, let it run for a little while (at least 5 minutes) before you drink it. This can help discharge any contaminants that might have settled in the pipes while it was shut off.

My water is shut off or at risk of being shut off. What should I do?
Call We the People of Detroit’s water rights hotline at 1-844-42WATER (1-844-429-2837). Our volunteers can assist Detroiters with locating emergency water and making payment arrangements with DWSD. We can also assist with finding and navigating the various water resources that are currently available.”