Courtesy of Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
Pediatrician Exposes Catastrophic Flint Water Crisis
If Donald Trump’s original travel ban were instituted, Iraqi immigrants, travellers and refugees would have been banned from the U.S. And if this ban were implemented many years prior, heroic persons, such as Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, could not have exposed the Flint water crisis.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha was born to two Iraqi immigrants in England. After her father’s studies were complete, the family decided to move to the United States in response to the tyrannical rise of Saddam Hussein.
With the family having settled in Michigan, Dr. Mona grew up to be an esteemed pediatrician at Hurley’s Medical Center in Flint - where she positioned herself as a fundamental force in unearthing the severity of lead contamination in the public water system.
In April of 2014, Flint switched their water source from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River. With this change came growing community wide concerns regarding the odor, taste and scent, Dr. Mona said in an interview on Brad Show Live.
As Dr. Mona started to take note of the situation’s gravity, it was not until she was tipped off to the lack of existing water treatment that she began to conduct her own research.
Sifting through hospital data, the science all pointed to an upticked increase in children’s lead levels after the water source switched, she said. However, when she presented her data before state officials, the findings were dismissed and discredited for weeks before finally corroborated.
“Despite the Flint River’s long history of pollution, the river was not the problem,” Dr. Mona stated. “The problem was that the water was not treated with corrosion control, and without treatment, the water was 19 times more corrosive.”
While the State is now taking steps towards complete remediation, to this day, the pipes are still contaminated, and a population wide exposure remains, Dr. Mona warned.
“It only would have cost $80-100 a day to add the proper chemicals and for the installation of a treatment pump - but there was never any intention to treat the water,” she said.
After having helped tens of thousands of children, Dr. Mona attributes her persistent fight on behalf of the Flint community to her immigrant perspective, she said.
“The lens that I see the world as an immigrant is someone who is everyday grateful to be in this country. Everyday I wake up lucky to live in America,” she said. But the immigrant perspective she also noted “is a lens that acutely knows what injustice is, and what people in power can do to vulnerable populations.”
For more insight on how Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha uncovered the Flint water crisis, and for information on her recently published book, watch the full interview below.