Lead-contaminated water prompts a state of emergency—and a PR crisis

Amid claims from pediatricians and parents that thousands of kids have been exposed to dangerous levels of the poison, Flint’s mayor takes action.

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The PR floodgates have opened in Flint, Michigan, and some folks at Hurley Medical Center couldn’t be happier.

Their claims that thousands of children living in urban areas have tested for dangerously high levels of lead have finally gotten the attention—and action—needed to address the crisis.

Over the past several months, pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha and a Virginia Tech researcher and lead expert, Marc Edwards, have spent a lot of time together. They have compiled scores of scientific data showing that the percentage of children with elevated lead levels had doubled as a result of the city’s tap water.

On Monday night, Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency; a memo that was shared on Twitter by a local TV reporter. By Tuesday morning, the news had spread like wildfire.

Weaver wrote that lead poisoning “will result in learning disabilities and the need for special education and mental health services and an increase in the juvenile justice system.” The declaration seeks help from the state and federal government.

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