Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore wants Americans to stop sending bottled water to his hometown of Flint, Michigan.
Moore wrote in an open letter on his website that while the offer is "much appreciated by those who are suffering through this and who have not drank (sic) a glass of unpoisoned water since April of 2014," those offering to help simply cannot.
"The reason you can’t help is that you cannot reverse the irreversible brain damage that has been inflicted upon every single child in Flint," Moore wrote. "The damage is permanent. There is no medicine you can send, no doctor or scientist who has any way to undo the harm done to thousands of babies, toddlers and children (not to mention their parents). They are ruined for life, and someone needs to tell you the truth about that."
Moore also called for the removal and arrest of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, urging fans to sign the #ArrestGovSnyder petition, which as of Monday had 564,297 signatures.
"If you want to help Flint, sign the petition, demand that the federal government take action, and then get involved yourself, wherever you live, so that this doesn’t happen to you — and so that the people we elect know they can no longer break the law as they rule by fiat or indifference," he wrote. "We deserve much better than this."
Federal officials warned Flint residents Friday that water samples from more than two dozen locations have higher lead levels than can be treated by filters that have been widely distributed to deal with the city's contamination crisis, underscoring the need for all residents to have their water tested.
Dr. Nicole Lurie of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the lead level in some Flint locations has exceeded 150 parts per billion, which is the level for which water filters are graded. In one case, it was in the thousands. She said people with levels over 150 ppb were being notified and their water being retested.
Improperly treated water leached lead from pipes into drinking water after Flint switched from Detroit's water system to the Flint River in 2014 to save money while under state financial management. Some children's blood has tested positive for lead, which has been linked to learning disabilities, lower IQ and behavioral problems. Flint has reconnected to Detroit's system for now.
"That is what we know about the history of lead poisoning when you inflict it upon a child. It is a life sentence," Moore wrote. "In Flint, they’ve already ingested it for these two years, and the toll has already been taken on their developing brains. No check you write, no truckloads of Fiji Water or Poland Spring, will bring their innocence or their health back to normal. It’s done."
The governor has signed into law $28 million more in emergency funding, and said he didn't know some state workers in the city had received bottled water last year while officials were still telling residents that tap water was safe to drink.
The latest state funding is intended to pay for bottled water, faucet filters, testing kits, additional school nurses, medical treatment and to help the city with unpaid water bills. There also is funding to hire outside experts to assess whether Flint's water system infrastructure must be replaced or repaired.
It's the second round of state aid for the city since the crisis was confirmed in the fall, bringing the total allocated to nearly $39 million. The Republican governor said the funding will provide immediate resources in Flint, but is not the end of state assistance.
"It's time to stand up and recognize that things could have been done differently," Snyder said before signing the aid legislation. "Mistakes were made. ... We're going to solve them."
News that employees at a state building in Flint had received fresh bottled water came Thursday in emails released by Progress Michigan, a liberal group critical of Snyder.
Snyder said Friday he had "no knowledge of that taking place."