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News Picks : Flint water crisis highlights problems in government science agencies

By: Physics Today
Wed Feb 03 11:35:00 UTC 2016
Chronicle of Higher Education: It took a professor from Virginia Tech to point out the problems with the water in Flint, Michigan, and to get local, state, and federal officials to do something about it. More than a decade earlier, Marc Edwards, an expert on water corrosion in plumbing, had proved that lead was seeping into the municipal water supply for Washington, DC. However, it took years of crusading to force the government to take action. In 2015 he was called to take on a similar challenge in Flint, where the city government was assuring its residents that the water was fine despite evidence to the contrary. In this interview, Edwards discusses how in both instances, government science agencies failed the local citizens by ignoring or covering up the problem. The result, he says, is a growing distrust among those citizens of their government officials and scientists. He hopes that his victories will inspire other scientists to work to pursue the truth and help people even if it means challenging the government and facing potential legal battles and other problems.

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