Led by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine has started a program to treat nearly 27,000 children living in Flint, Michigan who were exposed to lead in the city’s water. The doctor discovered elevated lead levels in children back in August after the city began drawing water from the polluted Flint River, and was one of the first to call attention to the dangerous situation, demanding government officials take the matter seriously.
Though lead is toxic to both adults and children, it is especially harmful to children because it obstructs the development of the nervous system, potentially causing permanent learning and cognitive disorders
Dr. Hanna-Attisha and other colleagues are calling for a “multi-front battle” against the medical, mental and cognitive issues Flint’s children are facing. The “front” will include experts from medicine, education, environmental science and other disciplines.
Known as one of the lowest income cities in America, Flint has a 40% poverty rate and a majority of the population are African-American.
“We can sit back and in 10, 15 years ….we can see a community suffering from the cognitive, the behavioral ramifications of this population-wide exposure,” says Dr Hanna-Attisha (who is of Iraqi descent and is Chaldean). “Or we could do something. This is our opportunity to build something that’s never been built before.”
P.S. For an interview with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha on “Democracy Now,” please view: Flint Doctor Mona Hanna-Attisha on How She Fought Gov’t Denials to Expose Poisoning of City’s Kids.