Health Department lists steps for Benton Harbor residents to prevent lead exposure

BENTON HARBOR, Mich.—The Berrien County Health Department is encouraging Benton Harbor water customers to take measures to prevent lead exposure, specifically those who may be pregnant or have children at home.

On July 26, the city announced that the water supply is under a continuation of the Action Level Exceedance of 15ppb for lead, which has been in effect since October of 2018.

The Health Department is asking those living in Benton Harbor to either flush water for at least five minutes or use an NSF/ANSI Standard 53 certified filter to remove lead from water.

Pipes can be flushed by running faucets for at least five minutes or by taking a shower, running a load of laundry or washing dishes.

City residents in need of water filters or a replacement filter cartridge can get them at the following locations:

  • Harbor of Hope Church (769 PipeStone) on the first Monday of each month from 4-6 p.m.
  • Benton Harbor Public Library (213 E. Wall St.) on the third Thursday of each month from 4-6 p.m.
  • Berrien County Health Department (2149 E. Napier Ave.) Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Other precautionary measures that can reduce lead exposure, according to the Health Department, are:

  • Use cold tap water for drinking and cooking
  • Use bottled water for preparing baby formula or use ready-to-feed formula
  • Do not boil water, as boiling will not reduce the amount of lead in water
  • Clean faucets’ aerators or screen at minimum every six months

The Health Department will continue offering blood lead testing and monitor blood lead levels for children under the age of six.

Children can be tested for lead in their blood at the following locations:

  • InterCare Community Health Network (800 M-139)
  • Spectrum Health Lakeland Center for Outpatient Services (3900 Hollywood Road)
  • Berrien County Health Department (2149 E. Napier Ave.)

According to the Health Department, there have been no significant increases in elevated blood levels in children in Benton Harbor.

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