Tag Archives: lead poisoning

Flint Residents Now Have to Pay for Water They Still Can’t Drink

State government ends program that helped residents of Flint, Michigan with their water bills after widespread lead poisoning was revealed

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-1-2017

“It’s been three years, and we still can’t drink the water.” (Photo: Steve Johnson/flickr/cc)

The state of Michigan has declared that Flint’s drinking water “meets all federal water quality standards,” ending a program Wednesday that reimbursed residents for most of their water costs in the wake of the lead crisis.

Yet Flint residents still can’t drink the water, and the announcement was met with outrage.

“They want to make it look like they’ve resolved this thing, that it’s fixed,” Tim Monahan, a carpenter who survived Legionnaires’ disease caused by the poisoned water supply, told the Washington Post. “It’s been three years, and we still can’t drink the water.” Continue reading

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Flint Residents Barred From Closed-Door Water Quality Meeting

Advocates and residents are concerned that officials are rushing to declare the city’s water supply safe

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-10-2017

“My eyes are still burning. I can’t breathe when I get out of the shower…we’re still melting here,” Flint resident Tony Palladeno said. (Photo: Flint Rising/ Facebook

Residents of Flint, Michigan who traveled to Chicago were barred from attending a private meeting Tuesday between Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and other officials, who advocates say are rushing to declare the city’s water supply safe.

Outrage over the closed-door meeting prompted protests in Flint and Chicago, where residents held signs outside the Water Quality Summit asking for their detailed water quality report. Continue reading

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As Flint Suffers, Nestlé Plans Dramatic Expansion of Water Privatization in Michigan

What’s more, the biggest food company in the world gets to pump that water at no cost

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11/1/2016

"The issue is the privatization of a critical resource. How much is too much?" said Jeff Ostahowski, vice president of the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation. (Photo: Steven Depolo/cc/flickr)

“The issue is the privatization of a critical resource. How much is too much?” said Jeff Ostahowski, vice president of the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation. (Photo: Steven Depolo/cc/flickr)

The state of Michigan has reportedly issued preliminary approval for bottled water behemoth Nestlé to nearly triple the amount of groundwater it will pump, to be bottled and sold at its Ice Mountain plant, which lies roughly 120 miles northwest of the beleaguered community of Flint.

“Nestlé Waters North America is asking the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for permission to increase allowed pumping from 150 to 400 gallons-per-minute at one of its production wells north of Evart,” MLive reported on Monday. Continue reading

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As Flint Suffers, Big Pharma Slammed for Lead Poison Drug Price Hike of 2,700%

Drug company Valeant described as ‘poster child for pharmaceutical greed’

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-14-2016

"While kids in Flint are poisoned by lead, Valeant charges $27,000 for the leading treatment," Sanders wrote. (Photo: Partha S. Sahana/flickr/cc)

“While kids in Flint are poisoned by lead, Valeant charges $27,000 for the leading treatment,” Sanders wrote. (Photo: Partha S. Sahana/flickr/cc)

Outrage is growing this week amid revelations that the pharmaceutical company Valeant raised the price for its critical lead-poisoning treatment by more than 2,700 percent in a single year.

Before Valeant took control of the medication, known as Calcium EDTA, in 2013, the average price for a package of vials was stable at $950, the medical news outlet STAT reported. But once the notorious pharmaceutical company bought it out in a multi-billion dollar deal, it swiftly boosted the price to $7,116 in January 2014 and to $26,927 by December of that year. Continue reading

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Snyder’s “Unconscionable” Use of Millions in Taxpayer Money for Criminal Defense Fees Questioned

“I can’t think of a clearer conflict of interest than the governor signing a contract to provide his own personal legal defense … without anybody providing oversight,” attorney said.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-12=2016

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been named in numerous lawsuits by Flint residents seeking justice for the lead-tainted water crisis. Image via CommonDreams.org.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been named in numerous lawsuits by Flint residents seeking justice for the lead-tainted water crisis. Image via CommonDreams.org.

One resident of Flint, Michigan—a city still grappling with a lead-contamination crisis—is asking a grand jury to look into whether Gov. Rick Snyder illegally used $2 million in taxpayer money for his legal fees related to the disaster.

“After what has happened in this city, it’s just a slap in the face,” said 46-year-old Keri Webber, adding that she finds it “unacceptable and unconscionable” for city residents to “pa[y] for the defense of the very man at the center of the whole issue.” Continue reading

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Critical Flint Aid Held Hostage as Congressional Showdown Looms

“Have Congressional Republicans forgotten about Flint? Or maybe it’s that they just don’t really care.”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-26-2016

"The people of Flint deserved assistance more than a year ago, and they require assistance now, without further delay." (Photo: Jake May/MLive)

“The people of Flint deserved assistance more than a year ago, and they require assistance now, without further delay.” (Photo: Jake May/MLive)

Even as Flint residents continue to struggle to provide clean drinking water for their families, Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate appear to be thumbing their noses at the Michigan city, excluding Flint assistance from a must-pass spending bill ahead of (yet another) congressional recess.

“Have Congressional Republicans forgotten about Flint?” The Flint Journal wrote in an editorial on Monday. “Or maybe it’s that they just don’t really care.” Continue reading

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Search for Justice Heats Up As Attorneys Weigh Criminal Charges in Flint Crisis

Family of poisoned two-year-old files federal suit against top Michigan officials including Governor Rick Snyder

Written by Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-9-2016.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been named in numerous lawsuits by Flint residents seeking justice for the lead-tainted water crisis. Image via CommonDreams.org.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been named in numerous lawsuits by Flint residents seeking justice for the lead-tainted water crisis. Image via CommonDreams.org.

The search for justice for victims of the Flint water crisis is heating up this week after investigators announced that they are weighing criminal charges while a new lawsuit, filed on behalf of a poisoned child, implicates those officials at the very top.

During a press conference in Lansing on Tuesday, attorney Todd Flood, a former Wayne County assistant prosecutor who was tapped by the Michigan attorney general to lead the investigation, said they are considering charges including “gross negligence, involuntary manslaughter, and misconduct in office” against those responsible for the lead-tainted water.

Flood explained that even in the case where someone made an “honest mistake,” that individual could still be charged with breaking civil or criminal laws if they turned a “blind eye” on the problem, rather than work to protect potential victims, the Detroit Free Press reports.

In fact, a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court accuses Michigan’s top officials, including Governor Rick Snyder and former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley, of “failing to act” despite knowledge of the dangerously high lead levels in the city’s water supply.

Flint resident Luke Waid filed the suit after learning that his two-year-old daughter is one of the thousands of children now suffering from lead poisoning after the city, under the control of the state-appointed emergency manager, switched its water source to the Flint River as a temporary cost-cutting measure.

Waid told the Free Press that his children “don’t have a voice of their own so I have to be their voice. I have to stand behind my children. If I didn’t feel so betrayed, I wouldn’t have brought it this far.” According to the suit, daughter Sophia “has experienced serious physical and emotional issues due to the contaminated water, including skin rashes, digestive problems, infections, excessive crying and irritability and the inability to sleep at night.”

“Even when these officials knew of a lead problem, they failed to act, thus resulting in an epidemic of lead poisoning,” said attorney Brian McKeen, managing partner of McKeen & Associates. This suit marks the first individual case on behalf of Flint residents, though it is one of a number that has been brought against Michigan officials in recent weeks.

Snyder and Earley have repeatedly tried to dodge any accountability for their roles in the crisis. Both have refused to testify before U.S. House officials about the situation.

Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette on Tuesday also called on lawmakers to amend the governor’s exemption from the state’s open-records law and thus force the release of all internal documents related to Flint water.

Michigan is one of just two states with a blanket exemption for the governor’s office to the Freedom of Information Act. Government accountability group Common Cause Michigan says that this has allowed Snyder to “hide” certain correspondence that might indicate that he or his staff knew more about Flint’s lead-tainted water than they have let on.

Last month, Snyder released his personal emails from 2014 and 2015 pertaining to Flint, but not the correspondence among his staff.

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Rejecting Snyder’s Claim, Experts Say Poisoning of Flint Blatant Racial Injustice

Meanwhile, research suggests Flint crisis ‘is not an isolated incident of poor public policies endangering the health of residents living in economically distressed communities.’

By Andrea Germanos and Deirdre Fulton, staff writers for Common Dreams. Published 1-22-2016

Photo: Jillian Hurley/Twitter

Photo: Jillian Hurley/Twitter

Experts are voicing strong disagreement with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who on Friday tried to argue that the lead poisoning plaguing the water of the majority-black city of Flint was “absolutely not” a case of environmental racism.

The Republican governor made the comment in an interview with MSNBC, adding that he’s “been devoted to helping” the city.

But that’s quite different from the way Paul Mohai, a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, whose work focuses on racial and socioeconomic factors in pollution, see it. Continue reading

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