The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) analyzed birth outcomes in the City of Flint before and after the change in water source to determine if there were any impacts on pregnancy outcomes. The result of this analysis showed no significant differences in birth outcomes for the City of Flint when comparing the pre and post water change time periods.
“The issue of birth outcomes in the City of Flint before and after the water source change is an important one,” said Sarah Lyon-Callo, Director of the Bureau of Epidemiology within the Population Health Administration, MDHHS. “We’re grateful to our partners in Genesee County for lending their expertise and input as we analyzed these data.”
Provisional results were shared with partners from Genesee County and the City of Flint on various occasions to review the findings and refine the analysis. Working with these partners, MDHHS assessed the rates of stillbirth, infant mortality, preterm birth and low birthweight within the City of Flint both before and after the water source change. The findings of the final analysis include:
- When looking at the City of Flint alone, the analysis shows that there were no significant increases in the rates of infant mortality, stillbirth, preterm birth and low birthweight across the two time periods.
- When comparing Flint to the rest of the State, Flint has consistently had higher rates of stillbirth, preterm birth and low birthweight, including both the pre and post water source change time periods.
- There is evidence of an increase in preterm birth within the City of Flint three months after the water source change (during the third quarter of 2014), but this rate returned to pre water source change levels in subsequent quarters.
- The analysis found a non-statistically significant increase in the incidence ratios for stillbirth, preterm birth and low birthweight overall and among Black, non-Hispanic infants during the post water change period.
- In addition, compared to the cities of Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Saginaw, in both periods, the risk of stillbirth, preterm birth and low birthweight in the City of Flint is consistently higher.
To refine this analysis, MDHHS worked with experts and Genesee County healthcare partners, including Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Genesee County Health Department, Dr. Marc Edwards, and Dr. Larry Reynolds. MDHHS is currently collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prepare and submit these analyses for peer review and will to continue to monitor this issue in the coming years as additional data becomes available.