Posted on Apr 26, 2019, 10 p.m.
Five years later metal poisoned residents of Flint, Michigan have been given the green light to sue the EPA over faked water quality science and failing to act swiftly to ensure the city’s drinking water was clean, which exposed them to heavy metals.
Flint residents filed a lawsuit against the EPA in 2017 arguing that the agency was able to let the city know its drinking water had been contaminated months before any emergency order was issued, and they are seeking $272 million in damages.
A whistleblower notified the EPA of their drinking water source being contaminated with lead in 2015, writing at the very least residents need to be warned. It took 7 months before the EPA issued an emergency order which means most people residing there had been unknowingly been drinking and using lead contaminated water for one and a half years.
Apparently this whole situation started when Flint stopped getting its drinking water from Detroit’s treated system in an attempt to save money and began getting it from the Flint River instead without using corrosion inhibitors. Soon after the switch it didn’t take very long for residents to notice problems of brown water with an unpleasant smell and taste, hair loss, rashes, and other issues. Regardless of resident complaints state regulators insisted the drinking water was safe, even after a group of physicians reported detecting high lead concentration levels in the blood of children from the area.
In her report Judge Linda Parker wrote: “These lies went on for months while the people of Flint continued to be poisoned... the poisoning will affect the city’s residents for years and generations to come...The acts leading to the creation of the Flint Water Crisis, alleged to be rooted in lies, recklessness and profound disrespect have and will continue to produce a heinous impact for the people of Flint.”
While Judge Parker did not rule whether the EPA was negligent she did say that they knew Flint River was very corrosive and that there was a significant chance of lead leaching into people’s homes; the Judge even said the EPA knew local and state officials were “misleading residents to believe that there was nothing wrong with the water supply.”
The lawyer representing the 1,700 Flint residents who filed the lawsuit believes the ruling will shake up the EPA for failing to act on the very issues it was created to offer protection to the people from. To no surprise the government tried to have this suit dismissed and the EPA has declined to comment on it.
Approximately 100,000 Flint residents were exposed to lead in their drinking water, and the incident has lead to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease linked to at least 12 deaths.
This is not the only lawsuit moving forward related to this crisis; Michigan state health director Nick Lyon will be standing trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter related to two deaths that have been linked to the Flint water crisis, and additional cases are pending against other state and city officials.
Unfortunately to date the water in Flint is still believed to be unsafe. Michigan may be claiming otherwise, but residents are skeptical of empty promises made by officials and those who are supposed to be protecting them AND residents are still experiencing rashes and other effects from using the “safe” water.
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