John O'Connor

Lead Contamination of the Flint, Michigan Water Supply: A Distillation of Readily Available Information  - Updated to May 2016

Blog Post created by John O'Connor on Apr 6, 2016

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For the past year, I have been obsessively plowing through the waterworks literature, research reports, news articles, public health publications with recent data, histories [e.g., Brush with death: a social history of lead poisoning, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001], informal publications, blogs, reader comments, and, most intently, the results of Michigan’s official inquiry [Flint Water Advisory Task Force Final Report, March , 2016] related to the toxicant, lead - particularly in drinking water supplies.

 

Although admittedly from a distance of 629 miles (Columbia, MO to Flint, MI), I have been trying to learn what happened in the Flint, Michigan water system - and what water suppliers must learn from this distressing episode.

 

The story begins with the efforts of Michigan’s state-appointed emergency managers (EMs) attempting to reduce the expenditures, including that for water supply, of the poverty-stricken City of Flint which was in debt - and in financial receivership.      John T. O’Connor

 

 

Finally, challenging the reader to a ‘thought experiment’.

What kind of experiments would you propose to gain insight into whether observed elevated lead levels are influenced more by ‘physical disturbances’ or ‘chemical factors’, such as disinfectant concentration, depletion, and temperature?

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