Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing serial existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

Flint residents protest the water quality in the city on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, outside Flint City Hall in Flint, Mich. (Photo: Danny Miller/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)

Flint residents protest the water quality in the city on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, outside Flint City Hall in Flint, Mich. (Photo: Danny Miller/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)

Lead Poisoning Fears Finally Stir Action, But Does It Come Too Late for People of Flint?

'Governor Snyder’s announcement confirmed what we already knew, that his emergency manager poisoned children and families in Flint.'

Sarah Lazare

Following growing public outcry, and a year of inaction, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday finally addressed Flint's public health crisis by calling for its water service to be reconnected to the Detroit system.

"Governor Snyder’s announcement confirmed what we already knew, that his emergency manager poisoned children and families in Flint. It should not have taken this long for the governor to admit that he was wrong and take action to fix the problem that he created," said Hugh Madden, communications director for Progress Michigan, in a statement released Thursday.

"The damage that the governor and the emergency manager have done in Flint doesn’t stop with the water switch," Madden continued. "The question now is, who is going to be held responsible for poisoning people in Flint and how are Snyder and our elected officials going to ensure that this doesn’t happen in other cities in Michigan?"

"The question now is, who is going to be held responsible for poisoning people in Flint?"
—Hugh Madden, Progress Michigan

Since the emergency manager switched the city's drinking water to the Flint River in April 2014, "it increased the amount of chemicals used to treat the water and failed to put in place the proper corrosion controls, resulting in water that contains high levels of TTHMs [total trihalomethanes], lead, copper and other heavy metals," explained Lynna Kaucheck, senior organizer for the Food & Water Watch, in a statement released Thursday.

"Soon after the switch, Flint residents began reporting water that was brown or greenish-blue and symptoms including hair loss and rashes," Kaucheck continued. "What’s even worse, this water came at a high price as water rates were among the highest in the country before a judge ordered a rate reduction. Sadly, the DEQ, Governor Snyder and Mayor Walling turned a blind eye and let this problem persist for months."

Researchers at Hurley Children's Hospital recently discovered that children living in two Flint zip codes have elevated levels of lead in their blood, prompting the state to begin distributing water filters to residents earlier this month.

Residents hailed the governor's pronouncement as a testament to local organizing, including the efforts of the community group Water You Fighting For. But in a city that's over 56 percent black, and plagued with poverty and unemployment, many expressed concern that the year of inaction will have lasting impact.

"Unfortunately," Kaucheck noted, "the switch may come too late for some Flint children who will suffer a lifetime of consequences from having been poisoned by the high levels of lead in Flint’s drinking water. We can only hope that Governor Snyder and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) learn from this tragedy and moving forward implement the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule to it’s fullest extent."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Omar Hangs Up After Boebert Uses Call to Double Down on 'Outright Bigotry and Hate'

"Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments."

Jessica Corbett ·


Win for Alabama Workers as NLRB Orders New Union Vote After Amazon's Alleged Misconduct

A union leader said the decision confirmed that "Amazon's intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace."

Jessica Corbett ·


'For the Sake of Peace,' Anti-War Groups Demand Biden Return to Nuclear Deal With Iran

"It's time to put differences aside and return to the Iran nuclear deal," said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'That's for Them to Decide': UK Secretary Rebuked for Claiming Vaccine Patent Waiver Won't Be 'Helpful' to Global Poor

One U.K. lawmaker asked when the government would "start putting the need to end this pandemic in front of the financial interests of Big Pharma?"

Andrea Germanos ·


Shell Slammed for Plan to Blast South African Coastline for Oil and Gas During Whale Season

"We cannot allow climate criminals, like Shell, to plunder in the name of greed," said Greenpeace.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo