When Lee-Anne Walters learned in March that her son’s immune system was compromised after being exposed to lead in the city of Flint’s water supply, she did what any parent would likely do: break down and cry.

“Shocked, angry … I was hysterical,” Walters told the Guardian. Barely able to speak, the 37-year-old called her friend Melissa Mays.

“I just couldn’t believe that we were paying to poison our kids,” Walters said.

A spate of kids are experiencing elevated blood-lead levels in Flint, and some drinking water lead levels are so high they are defined as hazardous waste, according to several local studies.

Residents also pay some of the highest water rates in the US, in the community known for its economic decline.

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