Flint Michigan Lead Poisoning Crisis

Residents Poisoned by Drinking Water in Prominent City of Michigan

The Town of Flint decided to switch its drinking water from Lake Huron to the Flint River. River water needs to be treated before consumption, because it tends to have high levels of lead not normal for human consumption.  Nevertheless, Rick Snyder Governor of the state of Michigan allowed the water to be consumed without being treated. Over the two year period that span the water switch, healthcare officials began to notice high levels of lead in the blood stream of their patients. They were suspicious of the drinking water and they, along with other experts, brought their concerns to the attention of the governor’s office. But the environmentalists there told them the water was perfectly safe to drink; therefore they should “relax.” Recently, the governor and his staff have come to acknowledge that there is a problem with the water. Today the city of Flint has no clean drinking water and is relying on charitable institutions and companies like Wal-Mart. Notably, the government should have also been providing water, but was not.

Some cities in the state of Michigan have been going through some financial crisis, and as result the government is low on financial resources. However, the governor had the option of asking for aid from the Federal Government and from FEMA.  But it seems Mr. Snyder was apparently too much of  a self-righteous partisan to ask the Democratic,  GOP despised President Obama for help. It is not until he got shamed by the national media that Snyder decided to ask for Federal aid. Aside from the lead poisoning,  there have been 87 cases of Legionnaires disease in Flint, of which 10 people have died.

If Snyder thinks that he would  bankrupt the state by providing water for his working class constituents, he should wait and see how bankrupt the state will become as a result of the funds that he is going to have to pay out in lawsuits to compensate for the lead poisoning and Legionnaires disease- if it’s also linked to the contaminated water supply.  The people of Flint human rights have been violated, and as a result they should ask Mr. Snyder to step down or call for his impeachment. After all, some might say what he  and his environmentalists have done is practically criminal.


On the other hand, you could put this lead poisoning incident under the heading of Environmental Racism1. Most of the people affected by this are black working class people. Would Snyder have acted faster if they were not minorities? Would Snyder have made sure the water was treated for consumption had it not been for minorities? This is a tragedy, and at a time when we have been trying to raise awareness about environmental racism.

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1Environmental racism as defined is the “placement of low-income or minority communities in proximity of environmentally hazardous or degraded environments, such as toxic waste, pollution and urban decay.”


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