Flint, Michigan Water Poisoning

Photo of a large white water tower in Flint, Michigan with the text Flint Water Plant painted in black letters.

What was the event?

The Flint water crisis began when local government officials made the decision to transition the city’s water supply from water obtained from Lake Huron to water from the Flint River. At the time of the switch, the water sourced from the Flint River was not treated with an anti-corrosion chemical. Due to the absence of water treatment, lead was liberated from the lead-solder used to join the water pipes into the drinking water, exposing over 100,000 residents to dangerously high levels of lead. Ingestion of lead by children is harmful to children as it results in developmental delays and learning difficulties.

What is the crime?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a Lead and Copper Rule, which calls for action when a water supply is found to be corrosive. Water with corrosive properties can liberate the lead found in old pipes over time, releasing lead into the water and often leading to contaminated drinking water. The new water supply from the Flint River was found to be corrosive, yet Flint government officials neglected to treat it.

Various officials were charged for a range of offenses including misconduct in office, tampering with evidence, neglect of duty and involuntary manslaughter (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/14/us/flint-water-crisis-manslaughter.html).

Are you a victim?

estimated 45,000 households were affected by the Flint Water Crisis. Families living in these homes experienced a myriad of symptoms as a result of drinking, cooking with, or bathing in the lead tainted water. Thousands of residents developed long-term heavy metals poisoning which presents with symptoms of anemia, memory loss, brain fog and fatigue.

The low levels of chlorine in the Flint municipal water system also resulted in a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that killed 12 people and sickened at least 87 in 2014 and 2015.

In addition, nearly 9,000 children living in the area at the time of the crisis now suffer from lead poising. Pediatricians’ have expressed concern that these children may suffer from serious developmental delays and may need special education services in the future.

While not all residents have experienced serious physical health issues, many have suffered from mental health distress as a result of the crisis, fearing that they may never be able to regain trust in their local government officials.


The Flint Water Crisis: A Guide to Information Resources

A guide to information about the Flint water crisis and resources for victims developed by the University of Michigan-Flint.


City of Flint's Water Site

Information from the City about bottled water and filter locations and water quality.


State of Michigan's Flint Water Site

Information from the state about current water conditions, water and filter pick up locations, testing results, and information about how to test water and use filters.


Flint Drinking Water Response | EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency's site on the Flint Water Crisis.



"A joint project between University of Michigan-Flint and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Michigan Data Science Team with support from Google.org," that provides location data on lead test results, bottled water pickup and recycling, water filter pickup, and service line replacement.


Hurley Medical Center | Lead Resources

Hurley's site with information and advice regarding lead in Flint water.


Flint Registry

People who were impacted by the Flint Water Crisis will soon be able to participate in a voluntary secure registry which will aim to connect them to programs and other resources that serve to minimize the effects of lead on their health while promoting wellness and recovery.


Tools and Training

National Mass Violence and Victimization Resource Center

Resources for Victims of Crime


National Mass Violence and Victimization Resource Center

Self-Help Tools


Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Information on Lead



JAMA Network Open paper

MUSC researchers find long-term mental health issues following Flint water crisis.

MUSC press release

Abstract at JAMA Network Open

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