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EPA knew about Flint, Michigan, water contamination with lead - hid it from the public for months while children were poisoned

Flint Michigan

(NaturalNews) This is yet another example of how the federal bureaucracy has grown so big and so ubiquitous as to have become unanswerable to the general public and, sadly, Congress.

As reported recently by the Detroit News, the Environmental Protection Agency's top official in the Midwest was aware that the drinking water in Flint, Mich., was likely contaminated, but failed to bring that to the public's attention because she said her hands were tied.

The official, Susan Hedman, did not reveal that there was a lack of corrosion controls in the city's water supply, and that probably put residents at risk for lead contamination.

The paper noted futher:

Starting with inquiries made in February, the federal agency battled Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality behind the scenes for at least six months over whether Flint needed to use chemical treatments to keep lead lines and plumbing connections from leaching into drinking water. The EPA did not publicize its concern that Flint residents' health was jeopardized by the state's insistence that such controls were not required by law.

But, rather than moving with haste to verify concerns or make any corrective moves, federal officials instead opted to push the state agency to action, Hedman – EPA's Region 5 administrator – told the paper. Further, she said that she had sought a legal opinion about whether her agency could force the state entity to act, but that was not completed until November.

State officials would not agree to apply corrosion controls until late July, the paper said. Further, the state DEQ did not admit until October that it had misapplied the federal Lead and Copper Rule regarding water quality oversight.

'Three-alarm fire'

Miguel Del Toral, an EPA water expert, had identified problems with the city's drinking water back in February. He confirmed his findings in April, and then circulated a memo internally in June, detailing the problem. However, Michigan officials only made the decision in October to alter Flint's source of drinking water from the corrosive Flint River back to the Detroit water system, the Detroit News reported.

Critic's of Hedman, however, have accused her of attempting to keep the Del Toral memo within her agency, and not taking it seriously enough.

The Detroit News reported further:

As soon as the lack of corrosion controls became apparent, state and federal officials should have acted to protect the public, said Virginia Tech researcher Marc Edwards, whose water analysis in 2015 helped uncover Flint's lead contamination.

"At that point, you do not just have smoke, you have a three-alarm fire and should respond immediately," Edwards told the paper. He and members of the the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan have gotten their hands on scores of important documents related to the water crisis, via public records requests.

"There was no sense of urgency at any of the relevant agencies, with the obvious exception of Miguel Del Toral, and he was silenced and discredited," Edwards said.

Will anyone be held responsible?

Some five months after being told about the lack of controls, a researcher at Hurley Medical Center in Flint began detecting high levels of lead in city children's blood work. It is known that lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, and can even lead to seizures, coma and death at higher doses, the paper reported, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Hedman defended the EPA's handling of Flint's water crisis, as you might have expected, saying that her water quality personnel were continually attempting to convince the state agency of the need for corrosion controls, but without success. That, of course, does not explain why she refused to publicize the problem after it was confirmed to have existed.

And of course, as in the past, it's a safe bet that no one from the federal government will be held responsible or expected to account for this.





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