Pediatrician takes turn as private investigator in Flint water crisis

Pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, recounts her experiences during the Flint water crisis in 2015—and how she discovered children were being poisoned—in an article published in The New York Times. 

To save the city of Flint money, which was $15 million in debt by 2015, the emergency manager appointed by the governor decided to switch the water supply from the Detroit water system to the Flint River. However, unbeknownst to the public, the water—used to make formula and cook dinner—was contaminated with dangerous amounts of lead.

“I kept thinking about all the worried parents I had seen over the past year,” wrote Hanna-Attisha. “They were always asking about the water and whether it was safe. There had been so many news reports and rumors. My naïve trust in the government—local, state and national—had made a liar out of me. For months we told our patients the Flint tap water was fine. We even recommended it as a healthier alternative to sodas and other sugary drinks.”

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