The Flint water crisis: how citizen scientists exposed poisonous politics

The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy Anna Clark Metropolitan (2018) What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City Mona Hanna-Attisha OneWorld (2018) LeeAnne Walters and her family endured months of ill health before they discovered the source.
Flint’s water was badly contaminated with lead, exposing tens of thousands of people to the potent neurotoxin.
Two books recount how the crisis unfolded.
Testing Walters’s water in April 2015, he found lead levels hundreds of times those deemed acceptable: they averaged 2,000 p.p.b., with the highest more than 13,000 p.p.b..
What finally forced the city to switch back to DWSD water a month later was proof that the supply was harming children.
She battled to access health records to show how levels of lead in children’s blood had changed since the switch.
Officials smeared her, distorted her findings and dismissed her evidence.
It would be all too easy to blame Flint’s crisis on the incompetence of a few officials, but both authors pinpoint deeper factors.
Lead pipes are ubiquitous in US cities, and the Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that it would cost up to US$80 billion to replace them.
The story of Flint’s crisis is still unfolding.

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