Jan. 6 – NBC News report:Internal Email: Michigan “Blowing Off” Flint Over Lead in Water 

Flint, Michigan, residents protest the water quality in the city on Oct. 5, 2015, outside Flint City Hall. Danny Miller / AP

Six months before Michigan’s governor declared a state of emergency over high lead levels in the water in Flint, his top aide wrote in an email that worried residents were “basically getting blown off by us.”

“I’m frustrated by the water issue in Flint,” Dennis Muchmore, then chief of staff to Gov. Rick Snyder, wrote in the email to a top health department staffer obtained by NBC News.

“I really don’t think people are getting the benefit of the doubt. Now they are concerned and rightfully so about the lead level studies they are receiving,” Muchmore said.

“These folks are scared and worried about the health impacts and they are basically getting blown off by us (as a state we’re just not sympathizing with their plight).”

The problem began in April 2014 when Flint switched from Detroit’s water supply to save money and began using water from the Flint River, which has a high salt content.

That corroded the pipes it flowed through and lead from those pipes — which had been undisturbed by Detroit’s less corrosive water — leached into the system.

Marc Edwards, a professor at Virginia Tech who has been testing Flint water, says treatment could have corrected much of the problem early on — for as little as $100 a day — but officials in the city of 100,000 people didn’t take action.

“There is no question that if the city had followed the minimum requirements under federal law that none of this would have happened,” Edwards said.

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Even after tests in February 2015 showed alarming levels of lead in a Flint home, officials publicly assured residents there was no threat.

Pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha didn’t buy it. She began an independent study and discovered that lead levels in children had doubled or even tripled since the city switched its water supply.

READ: Feds investigate Flint’s lead-tainted drinking water

The effects of the lead poisoning — which harms mental and physical development — could reverberate for years.

“In five years, these kids are going to have problems with special education. They’re going to have cognition problems,” Hanna-Attisha said. “Seven to 10 years, they’re going to have behavioral problems.”

Flint switched back to Detroit water in October. In December, the city began adding phosphates to the supply, to coat the insides of pipes and prevent metals like lead and copper from leaching out.

Sean Kammer, assistant to the city administrator, told NBC News those additives cost $80 to $100 a day, but said he could not estimate how much it would have cost to treat the water from the river.

Edwards said the cost would likely have been about the same.

“One hundred dollars per day and nearly none of this would have happened,” he said.

Source with video: Internal Email: Michigan “Blowing Off” Flint Over Lead in Water – NBC News

UAW Local 1485 president says corporate greed is behind company’s threat to move jobs to Mexico 

GRAND RAPIDS January 6, 2016– Dematic, a logistics and supply chain company with a long history in Grand Rapids, announced today that they are considering laying off more than 300 of its workers and moving operations to Mexico.

Scott Wahlfeldt, president of UAW Local 1485, which represents the workers at Dematic’s Plymouth Road facility, says this is nothing but corporate greed driving this threat to relocate.

“[UAW Local 1485 President] Wahlfeldt told the Grand Rapids Press this is less about staying competitive and more about the company trying to dodge taxes and avoid contract negotiations with employees.”

Source: UAW Local 1485 president says corporate greed is behind company’s threat to move jobs to Mexico | Kent-Ionia Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

 

ACLU documentary dives into Flint’s water woes | Blogs | Detroit Metro Times

  • Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015

  • Via ACLU of Michigan’s “Hard To Swallow: Toxic Water in a Toxic System”

The problems plaguing the city of Flint’s water supply have been documented at-length by local and national media outlets: Residents pay on average $150 per month for water service in their homes, one of the highest rates in the nation, and yet the product flowing from the faucet is brown, foul-smelling, and has been connected to a series of illnesses.

The outrage brimming from residents and activists is captured in a six-minute mini-documentary from the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) released this week, titled “Hard To Swallow: Toxic Water In a Toxic System in Flint.”

The project, an effort by local filmmaker Kate Levy and ACLU investigative reporter Curt Guyette, examines an issue that hasn’t been explored in reporting on the issue: the connection between state-appointed emergency management in Flint and the city’s tained water supply.

“What happened to Flint and it’s water highlights what can happen under emergency management when you have appointed officials who don’t have to respond to the concerns of the people they’re supposed to be serving,” says Guyette, also an occasional contributor to MT.

As the film explains, under emergency management, the city transitioned away from the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department as its source for municipal water. Deemed a cost-cutting measure that would allow Flint to control costs,the city now uses the Flint River for water.

The result? It’s a mess.

Residents say ever since the city began using the Flint River, several have dealt with rashes, hair loss, muscle stiffness, and soreness.

In an interview with the ACLU, a local pastor, Alfred Harris, highlights the fear residents have about drinking water: In his case, he’ll no longer baptize anyone in the city.

“If we baptize, we have to go outside the city of Flint,” Harris says in the film.

Guyette says the documentary stands out because because it links emergency management to the water issue.

“The situation’s been reported on all along, but … this really ties those two things together,” he says.

The irony of the situation is that, in a community surrounded by the largest bodies of freshwater in the world, residents are paying enormous rates for water that makes them sick.

“They’re paying more than people in Las Vegas,” Guyette says, “and they’re surrounded by the Great Lakes.”

Check out the full video below.

Source: ACLU documentary dives into Flint’s water woes | Blogs | Detroit Metro Times

 Washington Post report: Gov. Snyder declares ‘state of emergency’ in lead poisoning of Flint, Michigan homes, businesses 

Flint, Mich., Mayor Karen Weaver speaks on Jan. 5, 2016, after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency in the city over problems with lead in the drinking water. (Conor Ralph/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)

100,000 men, women, children and infants live in Flint. How many more were visitors, friends or family who came to see their family and friends?  How many drank the water? How many cooked with the water? How many bathed in the water? How many thought using a water tap filter or boiling the water would clean and clear things up? And then went on drinking, cooking and bathing in the water? How many people ate in restaurants serving or preparing dinners or washing dishes in lead poisoned water?  How many people washed their hands  with lead poisoned water before dining in a local restaurant? OVER 100,000 people live and work in the City of Flint. 100,000 people.  Who should they see about all this? Who should make it right? Can it ever be made right? – JLS

Continue reading  Washington Post report: Gov. Snyder declares ‘state of emergency’ in lead poisoning of Flint, Michigan homes, businesses