Interactive map: Places with higher lead rates than Flint

Across Michigan, thousands of children are dealing with the effects of lead poisoning. Although much of the focus has been on lead in Flint's water supply, in many parts of the state the percentage of children with elevated levels of lead exceed rates in Flint. While man-made decision on Flint's water supply are the cause of the abrupt rise in rates there, the culprit elsewhere around the state is often lead paint found in older homes.

Zoom in to see how many children tested positive in your ZIP code (add your city and MI to the search). The areas in red are where more than 5 percent of children tested had elevated lead levels, higher than Flint. (Dark red areas had 10 or more such children; light red areas had fewer than 10 children). You can use the search box to find your location. UPDATED with 2014 data

Source: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

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James Anderson
Thu, 12/10/2015 - 10:02am
Interactive maps by zip code can sometimes be useful for quickie statistics. In this case, the interactive map is not quite, but almost useless, especially for any serious comparative views. For the substantial number of your readers who work with real numbers and statistics on an almost daily basis, please supply a link to the actual tables, or at least to the digital or print source(s) for this info. Where should I go to get the real numbers, real maps, and zip code identifications.? I confess, I have not memorized all Michigan zip codes. Bridge is a valuable online publication, but you missed the mark with this article.
Mike Wilkinson
Thu, 12/10/2015 - 10:24pm
James: We tried to bring the data to readers in the best way possible. If you know where you live or an area you want to check, scroll in. As you get closer, the ZIP code labels appear. Here's the link to the 2012 data: The state supplied me with a spreadsheet for the 2013. I hope this helps.
Tue, 12/15/2015 - 10:52pm
That data is from 2012 and 2013. You can not go by that. Then you don't know if their lead came from paint chips or water. So they can not compare this with Flint.
jay mc kennon
Wed, 01/20/2016 - 11:36am
The degradation and continual rate left unchanged would probably increase by saturation in the neighborhood of 2.5% - 6%.Unless the MDNR or EPA has memorandum of ACTIVE CLEAN-UP SITE or MSC564-15 or Lead Containment Evaluations under Provision 15 under OSHA authorization for site contamination, then the levels have probably increased not decreased,and the exact values have INCREASED.Though being some educated hillbilly with a degree in environmental sciences and wildlife mgt. only has this state paying me $38,900 a year and a decrease in benefits. Meanwhile Snider just gives fancy acronyms for what will be done,and Flint has gotta enough cancerous agents in bloodstreams to kill about 115,000 over the next 20 years.LOSE LOSE
Sun, 01/24/2016 - 9:07pm
Since nobody knows if Flints elevated lead levels are purely from the water, they are certainly comparable. And by the way, Flint had even higher lead levels in their kids in 2012, 2011, and 2010 than they do now. 2010 was nearly double what it is now. So very likely Flints problem is also not limited to the water.
Thu, 01/28/2016 - 5:01pm
That just might have something to do with the allowable limit having been dramatically reduced at almost exactly the same time as the switch from Detroit water to Flint River water.
Tue, 01/26/2016 - 10:06pm
A significant portion of the lead poisoning in urban areas comes from exposure to lead in soil dust that is resuspended into the air during the summer when soils are dry - see
Wed, 01/20/2016 - 8:35am
Where are the statistics for 2014 - 2015? I am concerned as my child and I both drink the water from the faucet. Why are the results from 2 - 3 years ago???
Fri, 01/22/2016 - 2:03am
Buy a Our water pitcher. Takes out multiple chemicals out of your water. Pick one up at wal mart. I used to live in watervliet. We had the water filter we had to add salt to all the time could have saved money by buying a couple PUR pitchers instead. The filter will clean up to 40 or 50 gallons of water per filter. You cal but a pack of 3 filters at a time. If you want. Have a Great day. Hope this helps you and your son. Mate. Later.
Thu, 01/28/2016 - 2:24am
Just after / at end of 2nd paragraph: "UPDATED with 2014 data" Contact Source about more recent results: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services? Though it would take time to tabulate the whole state. It might not look like much, yet there has been a lot of work put into the map. Test your water? Get a filter which removes lead?
Sun, 01/24/2016 - 5:05pm
I agree, the map was horrible. I put in my zip code for Kalamazoo area, and ended up in Greece! I see it was a MI DHHS map.
Tue, 01/26/2016 - 5:35pm
Albion, Battle Creek, Flint, hmm. I'm seeing paralells here. water, decaying infrastructure, old buildings (exposed lead paint), I'm seeing a pattern. this may be a few years old, but check demographics and poverty levels. I think you will see what I mean.
Thu, 12/10/2015 - 12:03pm
I'm interested in how this was mapped out and the dataset used. There's just no way that Zip Code 49441 has higher lead levels than Flint
Mike Wilkinson
Thu, 12/10/2015 - 10:21pm
Mike Wilkinson here. That indeed is what the state data says. However, that ZIP code is small and just a few children with positive tests pushed it above 5 percent, which is where Flint as a whole was earlier this year. The difference is this: In Flint, the rise in rates (some ZIP codes within Flint saw their rates more than double from 2013 to 2015) indicated something was afoul and it was, according to the experts. But the city has had one of the lower overall rates among the state's biggest cities.
Fri, 12/11/2015 - 1:28pm
Mike, "ZIP code is small and just a few children with positive tests pushed it above 5 percent" This is the very reason why mapping this data according to ZIP code is misleading. A chloropleth map isn't always the best way to represent data, but hey we're limited by our dataset I wasn't doubting the veracity of the data I just wanted to look at it. Thanks
Sun, 01/17/2016 - 2:10am
they seem pretty concerened about flints lead water levels.... they dont seem to mave much of a problem on this map, where i am fro jackson and half the county is in the red.....thats terrifying
Fri, 01/22/2016 - 2:06pm
This data set is too old to show current lead levels in Flint...
Mike Wilkinson
Fri, 01/22/2016 - 2:41pm
Yes, it is. Map will be updated soon with statewide 2014 data. The comparison was made to data from 2014 and 2015 that the state provided Bridge on Flint. In Flint, the average may have been 5 percent but the problem was the rate had risen markedly when in most areas of the state expsoure rates have been steadily declining for over two decades.
Mike Wilkinson
Fri, 01/15/2016 - 9:57am
Ryan, Many places in the state have elevated lead levels among a higher percentage of children. For over two decades, the percent of chilrden with elevated levels has gone down, mostly because of education efforts and the removal of lead from paint and gasoline. Still, it is higher in areas of older homes typically. In Flint, the rise in the percentage of children with lead sparked the outcry because it was the result of a man-made decision to switch water sources. But overall, Flint levels are lower than in many other ZIP codes. But the tragedy in Flint is the rise in levels and the reason why. This map, and the story that accompanied it in December, point that out. Flint, like the scandal of lead-tainted toys coming into the U.S. from China a few years ago, point out that lead remains a very dangerous compound that continues to have negative effects on too many.
Sun, 01/17/2016 - 2:06am
was made by dhhs, and they tested kids. and they test kids through wic
Tue, 01/19/2016 - 5:03pm
ZIP CODE: 49201 2012-----2013 Total tested669768 Positive tests*4748 Percent7%6.3% * Testing above 5 micrograms per deciliter
Wed, 01/20/2016 - 2:16pm
Campbell Wyant & Cannon was in that zip code...makes you wonder what might have leached from their plant into the ground. I know there are a lot of cancers at a very young age in some of those neighborhoods. I hope that's not the case.
Heidi Shillair
Sun, 12/13/2015 - 8:37pm
Has anybody considered vaccines as possible lead poisoning?
Tue, 12/15/2015 - 7:23pm
Good grief!
Tue, 12/15/2015 - 8:27pm
Are you dense? Or just drinking too much lead water? House dust contains more lead than any vaccine.
Wed, 12/30/2015 - 11:25am
No, no one has considered that because vaccines don't contain lead, so that would be impossible.
Wed, 01/13/2016 - 8:19am
Has anyone considered that the medical community is sneaking into your home at night to inject our children with lead as part of a vast conspiracy to poison kids for absolutely no reason?
Fri, 01/15/2016 - 11:44am
Vaccines are worrying from Mercury or "Thimerosal "
Mon, 01/18/2016 - 6:51am
Except MMR vaccines never contained Thimerosal to begin with. Only Tdap, Tdap-MiB and flu vaccinations ever contained it, and it was removed from any childhood vaccines in 2001. Even then, it was only removed because the FDA decided in 1999 to attempt to reduce overall mercury exposure, not because Thimerosal itself was dangerous. It's an ethylmercury as opposed to a methylmercury - and ethylmercury doesn't bioaccumulate (i.e., stay in the body). Mercury standards are based on methylmercury, which does bioaccumulate. In short, there is still nothing worrying about vaccines except people not getting them and allowing child and immunocompromised killing diseases to reemerge.
Fri, 01/22/2016 - 4:09am
Thank you...anti-vaxxers make me crazy!
Tue, 01/26/2016 - 1:56pm
Pro-vaxxers drive me crazy.
Wed, 01/20/2016 - 10:10am
Exactly what I was just thinking, Heidi. How many of these people run out to get their flu vaccines or think nothing of having (God knows what) injected into their kids. My brother is an RN and will not get flu vaccines because they're full of mercury. Flint is an entitlement community, and that is the reason we're hearing so much from them. Lead is all over the nation. Maybe it's time we ALL started thinking for ourselves and stop following like blind sheep.
Wed, 01/20/2016 - 12:33pm
Linda, for heaven's sake, read Bel's reply above. Seriously, your RN brother isn't getting a vaccine because of the mercury? It's sad how even the "educated" people make such dumb conclusions. People die of the flu and its complications... no one has died from the apparent "mercury" in the flu vaccine. And who the heck thinks our vaccines contain lead? Seriously?
Wed, 01/20/2016 - 6:52pm
It's bad enough people like you don't hesitate to be obese and stuff ungodly amounts of soda and processed food into your body and then point out how vaccines are bad. Just guessing of course, but it's a safe bet. Yeah, go ahead and blame all your problems on the government and vaccines.
Fri, 01/22/2016 - 4:19am
Linda, I am an RN and I receive a flu vaccine every year. My daughter has asthma and the flu virus could have dire consequences for her. I'm terrified for when she goes to school and is exposed to kids whose parents aren't educated enough to realize that vaccines save lives! If you refuse a flu vaccine, you are risking the life of my child and others like her...smdh
Sat, 01/23/2016 - 7:46pm
And, believe that to work in health care you must get a flu shot or wear a mast during flu season.
Sally G
Fri, 01/22/2016 - 5:27pm
Lead is not the problem with vaccines. Aluminum and mercury are the problems with vaccines.
Tue, 12/15/2015 - 9:16am
This map says that it's mostly related to lead-based paint, not lead in the drinking water like Flint's. Way to scare the people of Michigan, Bridge Magazine. I think this really does a disservice to the residents of Flint and the way they got screwed over by the State of Michigan and the Governor.
Wed, 12/16/2015 - 9:28am
My daddy painted all his life and my brother has his own painting business ,if you don't disturb lead paint ,like sand it and inhale it ,or eat it ,it's not going to hurt you. What are these kids doing eating paint off the wall ? That is false
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 12:02am
Think moving parts... doors and windows. The friction between the moving parts releases dust, this dust is then distributed through the home via ducts, contact, etc. This occurs much more often in older homes with poor upkeep as those moving parts have not been replaced and continue to release the dust. Young children chew on window sills, railings and banisters, ingesting lead. Add to that these areas house residents with little control to make repairs and have little money to feed their children properly, reducing calcium and iron intake and the lead makes a home in their blood and then their bones.
Sun, 01/17/2016 - 12:57pm
Your not going to get much from opening windows and doors if you live in an old house its long been rubbed off and usually the parts of the windows behind the stops the rub don't have paint on them , because most people don't remove the window to paint it. Also old houses usually don't have duct work to blow any said dust around , they usually have radiant heat , I live in a 130 year old house and have refinished wood in the house and I open windows and doors all the time and have been checked for lead and I was fine as well as other neighbors in our historic district here in the 49441 zip code . So I don't exactly buy the old house with "potential" lead based paint as the issue
Fri, 01/22/2016 - 7:28pm
What an idiot
Fri, 01/22/2016 - 10:33pm
Soil is another source of lead in urban areas. Gasoline once contained lead and is a problem in urban areas and along roadways. Soil near houses painted with lead-based paint is also a problem. Some pottery and toys are other possible sources of household lead.
Tue, 12/15/2015 - 10:21pm
This map is atrocious. Many of the counties that do not have statistically significant differences (given sample sizes) are assigned dramatically different colors. It's misleading, even unethical, to report noise.
Tue, 12/15/2015 - 11:11pm
I call shenanigans. Skewed data. For instance, my area code 49829 had municipal tests conducted that showed 2.2 ppb of Lead. Flint has 11 ppb (which is below the allowable for action, but not good). The data this website used was a sampling of blood tests -- in my area code, 14 kids tested had a presence of lead in their system, which is a small percentage of a tiny sampling of a comparatively tiny population. In reality, the 14 kids with positive tests probably bad wells and old pipes with water that sat in them, or they ate paint chips. If you're looking for good data to report, look at the municipal water tests. If you're looking to scare people and get them to read your misleading, drummed up reports, keep doing what you're doing..
Aaron Fuller
Fri, 01/01/2016 - 8:55am
Take this horrible article down! This is a gross misuse of these data and incredibly misleading. You should be ashamed of yourselves!
Fri, 01/22/2016 - 4:14am
This is just propaganda being used to remove blame from Snyder for the mess he has allowed to happen in Flint, plain and simple.
Soul dancer
Fri, 01/22/2016 - 12:41pm
The people of flint elected their government. Don't blame it on Snyder. Obviously your facts are misleading.
Sun, 01/24/2016 - 3:06pm
Except the people they elected had no power after Snyder appointed the Emergency Manager. please get YOUR facts straight.