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City of Flint Giving Away Brown Water: Flint Cola, It Has E-LEAD-trolites!

State to Spend Millions on PR and Lawyers to Make the Peasants Go Away Fixing The Problem.

Flint Mom-Turned-Activist Describes City’s Disturbing Declining Health
Melissa Mays tells Mnar Muhawesh on “Behind the Headline” why residents of Flint, Michigan, still depend on bottled water for everything from drinking to bathing almost two years after state and local officials knew the city’s water supply was poisoned.

For almost three years, the residents of Flint, Michigan, have had poison running through their pipes.

The city’s water supply has been tainted by lead and other dangerous pollutants since the city started drawing its water from the polluted Flint River in April of 2014 in an effort to cut costs in the economically depressed city.

By January of 2015, city officials were ensuring their own supplies of clean bottled water. And the governor’s office was informed of the toxic water in February. But it wasn’t until October that year that residents were warned to stop consuming the city’s toxic water.

Since then, the people of Flint have relied on bottled water for everything from drinking and cooking. Some are even hesitant to use unfiltered tap water to wash their hands or bathe.

To date, 6,000 to 12,000 children in Flint have been exposed to lead. This exposure will likely create problems for years to come, as lead poisoning can lead to physical and mental development problems that can last a lifetime.

Some have argued that officials have dragged their feet on fixing the problem because the city is 57% black and 41% poor.

A federal judge ruled in November that Flint residents are entitled to have bottled water delivered to their homes as “a rough substitute for the essential service that municipal water systems must furnish.” And On Dec. 5 the House and Senate finally agreed to authorize $ 170 million in aid to Flint and other cities with lead in their drinking water.

But this may be too little, too late for the people of Flint, who will be feeling the effects of this crisis for decades to come.

Melissa Mays, a mother from Flint and founder of the group Water You Fighting For?, is here to talk about what led to this crisis, the impact it’s had on her family, and how the government turned a blind eye while allowing Nestle to come in and pump clean groundwater for free.

Flint Mom-Turned-Activist Describes City’s Disturbing Declining Health

The Flint Infrastructure Crisis: Two dinners with Flint Residents

On December 15 Flintwaterstudy had two memorable dinners with Flint residents.

The first was with three members of the original team that helped expose the Flint water crisis in 2014-2015 including “Fighting” Tony Palladeno Jr. and his partner Leah, and Melissa Mays (co-founder of Wateryoufighting4). We first met Tony when residents were getting arrested for complaining about water, and of course, we met Melissa on our original Flint visit when we tested for disinfection by-products, chlorine and bacteria in Flint water heaters and cold water taps.

Ever since early 2016, these residents have been harsh critics of the EPA, State of MI, Dr. Edwards and Flintwaterstudy – they believe the water in Flint is getting worse with each passing day. To say we had a frank exchange about these and other issues would be an understatement (our sincere apologies to El Potrero staff and customers). Nonetheless, it was good seeing them again.

Like many Flint residents, Tony and Leah are having a tough time financially, because their property investments in Flint imploded – at least partly as a result of the Flint water crisis. Imagine a scenario in which you have invested your life savings in a community in Flint, and it evaporates as many people flee a city in crisis. On top of that consider the health and stress issues associated with the water from at least 2014-2015 and residual lack of trust. There does not seem to be any legal recourse to recover their lost investment either. In any case, while we may never agree on anything again when it comes to Flint water quality, these residents are truly amongst the original heroes of the Flint crisis. The entire country owes Flint residents a debt of gratitude for helping to expose national problems on lead in water and decaying infrastructure.

We then had a nice dinner organized by James Milton at Tia Helitas. James took the class on the Flint Water Crisis at UM-Flint and had a lot of great questions about infrastructure and water quality. His mom Lucille Milton, Dave Montgomery (Urban News), Chris Frye and Kay Doerr also attended. We were joined by Keri Webber and LeeAnne Walters (who was recovering from back surgery). The problems of high water rates, crazy water bills, and shut-offs were a main topic of discussion.

There is still a lot of work to be done in Flint. We can’t solve all of these problems, but with the $ 170 million in Federal funding, hopefully, we can make a dent in them.

The Flint Infrastructure Crisis: Two dinners with Flint Residents

Don’t forget Flint: Michigan still dealing with water crisis
Flint, Michigan’s water crisis has not been resolved.

The issue has not received major news coverage for months, and most celebrities have stopped speaking out about it entirely. However, Flint remains in disastrous condition and while the social media sympathy has passed, the water crisis continues.

Flint was once a booming industrial city, but today stands as a testament to the failures of capitalism and the struggles faced by poor people of color. America’s lack of interest in the city’s water crisis speaks volumes of the country’s attitude towards marginalized communities.

According to CNN, 41.6 percent of Flint’s residents live below the poverty line and over half of the city’s population is black. The median household income in Flint is $ 24,679, while the rest of Michigan has a median household income of $ 49,087.

In March of this year, an independent panel appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder concluded that a blatant disregard for poor and marginalized communities contributed to the government’s slow response to complaints about contaminated water. Had Flint’s population been primarily white, perhaps Gov. Snyder’s office would have treated the entirety of the water crisis more seriously.

It has been over 400 days since Flint’s water was publicly declared undrinkable. The most immediate and widespread solution has been to provide people with water filters for their tap water, however, in many older and more impoverished homes these filters are incompatible with sinks, making them virtually useless.

There are a handful of stations located around the city that give out bottled water to those in need. The problem is, without transportation, time or the physical ability to collect these bottles, it is still impossible for the most marginalized of citizens to have access to clean water.

At first, the superficial unity that arose between Americans dissatisfied with their government was seemingly sincere and beautiful; however, in plenty of ways it was not true solidarity. Undeniably, people rallied behind a poor community of color and demanded justice—but justice for whom?

Anti-government sentiments inundated almost all commentaries regarding the water crisis, but in retrospect they now seem like projections of general and personal dissatisfaction with the State and not actual concern for the people of Flint. Once again, the material suffering of people of color has been used as a tool for the advancement of privileged white Americans.

Citizens of Flint continue to be denied access to water as you read this. No, your two weeks of hashtags did not work. Your retweets did not change anything. Water bottle donations may have had a more immediate impact, but they still won’t give the most marginalized citizens access to water.

Only immediate and direct action will bring rapid change to Flint. To secure the rights and standards of living for the least privileged, we must endanger those rights of the most powerful. White allies like myself must put our safety on the line for that of our less privileged siblings. If our most impoverished cannot drink clean water, their governor and congressmen should not have access to it either—and that should apply across the board to all issues faced by impoverished Americans.

We must strive and strategize to provide tangible change for those who need it most in America. If the implications of racism and classism drawn from people’s growing indifference to Flint make you uncomfortable, stand united and act.

Don’t forget Flint: Michigan still dealing with water crisis


Neoliberalism’s Deadly Experiment

There Are Over 1,000 Communities Across the US with 4x the Lead Poisoning in Flint, Michigan
Reuters investigation finds Flint’s water contamination crisis is just the tip of a very contaminated iceberg.

Flint, Michigan’s lead-poisoned water crisis, which erupted in 2014, shined a global spotlight on the dangerous confluence of austerity, poverty and environmental racism. A new in-depth investigation by Reuters finds that Flint is far from alone, with nearly 3,000 areas nationwide facing lead poisoning rates “at least double those in Flint during the peak of that city's contamination crisis.” In 1,100 of those communities, residents had lead levels in their blood that were four times higher than those found in Flint.

Journalists M.B. Pell and Joshua Schneyer made these determinations by examining neighborhood-level data from state health departments and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The poisoned places on this map stretch from Warren, Pennsylvania, a town on the Allegheny River where 36 percent of children tested had high lead levels, to a zip code on Goat Island, Texas, where a quarter of tests showed poisoning,” they wrote. “In some pockets of Baltimore, Cleveland and Philadelphia, where lead poisoning has spanned generations, the rate of elevated tests over the last decade was 40-50 percent.”

Reuters sent reporters to many of those impacted locations and they noted that “poverty remains a potent predictor of lead poisoning” but “victims span the American spectrum.” The report states that “Like Flint, many of these localities are plagued by legacy lead: crumbling paint, plumbing, or industrial waste left behind. Unlike Flint, many have received little attention or funding to combat poisoning.”

Lead poisoning can have irreversible impacts on the brain. According to the World Health Organization, “Young children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead and can suffer profound and permanent adverse health effects, particularly affecting the development of the brain and nervous system. Lead also causes long-term harm in adults, including increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage. Exposure of pregnant women to high levels of lead can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth weight, as well as minor malformations.”

The CDC notes, “No safe blood lead level in children has been identified.”

"The disparities you've found between different areas have stark implications," Dr. Helen Egger, chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center's Child Study Center, told Reuters. "Where lead poisoning remains common, many children will have developmental delays and start out behind all the rest."

In a February article published on Tom Dispatch, David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz referred to lead poisoning as America’s “coast-to-coast toxic crisis,” noting that it is rooted in political and economic factors. “[E]conomically and politically vulnerable black and Hispanic children, many of whom inhabit dilapidated older housing, still suffer disproportionately from the devastating effects of the toxin,” they wrote. “This is the meaning of institutional racism in action today.”

“As with the water flowing into homes from the pipes of Flint’s water system,” they continued, “so the walls of its apartment complexes, not to mention those in poor neighborhoods of Detroit, Baltimore, Washington, and virtually every other older urban center in the country, continue to poison children exposed to lead-polluted dust, chips, soil, and air.”

There Are Over 1,000 Communities Across the US with 4x the Lead Poisoning in Flint, Michigan


The thousands of U.S. locales where lead poisoning is worse than in Flint

Source: ONTD_Political

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