Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha Talks about Flint Water Crisis (video)

waterworkTOP_whiteDr. Mona Hanna-Attisha SaharaNEW02Talks about Flint Water Crisis (video)

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 6, 2016)

Royal Oak, MI – In Flint there have been many people who fought in their own ways to bring attention to the problems faced by residents since the water was switched from Detroit water to water from the Flint River. One of those who brought forward research about increased levels of lead, and who has been advocating for more resources to help the children exposed to it, has been Royal Oak native Doctor Mona Hanna-Attisha.

Dr. Hanna-Attisha came home to Royal Oak Saturday to talk with various groups about the crisis in Flint. She also recalled her Royal Oak roots.

POWELLad_01“I grew up in Royal Oak,” Dr. Hanna-Attisha said. “It is here in Royal Oak that I knew what to do, and many of my mentors and role models are here. So back in 1994 there was an incinerator in Madison Heights and I got involved in a high school environmental group and we teamed up with John Friedman who was running for state rep. at the time, and we worked as high school students…to get that incinerator closed. And I think that’s what started me in activism.”

Speaking to the Royal Oak Democratic Club, Dr. Hanna-Attisha talked about the fateful dinner-table conversation that prompted her to start researching lead exposure in her community. She talked about how the contamination happened, how testing works, how lead impacts the body, and what she feels would be necessary to help combat the effects of a generation of kids exposed to the neurotoxin.

“As a nation we have done such an incredible job of getting rid of lead,” she said. “We got rid Pledge_side_blueof lead paint, lead in gas, and in the last 30 years the percentage of children with lead poisoning has gone down every single year.” This widespread change is because the effects of lead are clearly documented. “You don’t mess around with lead.”

Dr. Hanna-Attisha said she’s got a list about ten pages long of what needs to be done to tackle the developmental problems that can come from lead exposure. Among the needs are access to head-start programs, early literacy programs, increased awareness of the benefits of breast feeding, expanded WIC programs, access to mental health programs and improved food access. She said there are no full-service grocery stores in Flint.

She also asked the people stop sending bottles of water, and start sending money. “Everything given so far has been for infrastructure, for water filters. Nothing has been allocated for children or for health,” she said. Because of this, organizations and foundations through Flint HowesLocationhave come together to focus on The Flint Child Health and Development Fund. This effort makes sure that funding is collected and managed by trusted local organizations and is pooled for the greatest impact.

“If you want to give a bottle of something, you can just put a check in the bottle,” she said. The website www.flintkids.org has a place to donate as well as more information about the Flint water crisis.

Her presentation in Royal Oak gave attendees insight into the crisis. Congressman Sander Levin also made an appearance to talk about the push for funding at the Federal level and the need for people to speak to elected officials – Republican and Democratic – about the issue.

Check out the video of the presentation below to learn more:

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