The Poisoning of an American City
Josh Sanburn / Flint, Mich.
Jan. 21, 2016 #TBT
The boy on the cover is a Flint resident. His name is Sincere Smith. His third birthday is in a few days.
Sincere has rashes all over his body. They are so itchy, it keeps him up at night. "People think of Flint and think of what we're going through," Sincere's mother Arian Hawk said. "Imagine what we're going through. Imagine if these were your kids going through this right now. You'll see how we'll feel." Hawk says a doctor discovered that the boy rash is from chemicals that are being dumped into the water system to combat the lead in the city's water.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency order Thursday that it plans to take over testing for lead. In a statement, the agency criticized local and state officials.
The regional director of the EPA overseeing Michigan, Susan Hedman announced her resignation Thursday as well.... The community about 75 miles north of Detroit, has about 100,000 residents, with about 40 percent of them living below the poverty line. The population is nearly 60 percent black.
#Flint’s water became contaminated with lead when the city began drawing from the river in 2014 as a cost-cutting measure while under state financial management. The water was not properly treated to keep lead from pipes from leaching into the supply.
The lead— which can lead to behavior problems and learning disabilities in children and kidney ailments in adults — has left Flint residents unable to drink unfiltered tap water.
President Barack Obama declared an emergency — qualifying the city for $5 million — but concluded that the high lead levels are not a disaster based on the legal requirement that disaster money is intended for natural events such as fires or floods. Snyder had estimated a need for up to $95 million over a year.