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Pediatrician Who Exposed Flint Water Crisis Shares Story, Including How State Tried to Discredit Her


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https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/06/25/623126968/pediatrician-who-exposed-flint-water-crisis-shares-her-story-of-resistance?

 

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In August 2015, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha was having a glass of wine in her kitchen with two friends, when one friend, a water expert, asked if she was aware of what was happening to the water in Flint, Mich.

 

Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician in Flint, knew that the city had changed its water source the previous year. Instead of channeling water from the Great Lakes, residents were now drinking water from the nearby Flint River. She had been aware of some problems with bacteria after the switch, but she thought everything had been cleared up.

 

Her friend warned otherwise: "She said, 'Mona, the water isn't being treated properly. It's missing something called corrosion control. ... Without that corrosion control, there is going to be lead,' " Hanna-Attisha remembers.

 

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As Hanna-Attisha began reviewing her patients' medical record, she noticed that the percentage of children with elevated lead levels had increased after the water switch. But when she shared her data at a hospital press conference, government officials tried to discredit her.

 

"The state said that I was an unfortunate researcher, that I was causing near-hysteria, that I was splicing and dicing numbers," Hanna-Attisha says. "It's very difficult when you are presenting science and facts and numbers to have the state say that you are wrong."

 

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