Flint was already a troubled city in 2014 when the state of Michigan—in the name of austerity—shifted the source of its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Soon after, citizens began complaining about the water that flowed from their taps—but officials rebuffed them, insisting that the water was fine. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician at the city’s public hospital, took state officials at their word and encouraged the parents and children in her care to continue drinking the water—after all, it was American tap water, blessed with the state’s seal of approval.
But a conversation at a cookout with an old friend, leaked documents from a rogue environmental inspector, and the activism of a concerned mother raised red flags about lead—a neurotoxin whose irreversible effects fall most heavily on children. Even as circumstantial evidence mounted and protests grew, Dr. Mona knew that the only thing that could stop the lead poisoning was undeniable proof—and that to get it, she’d have to enter the fight of her life.
What the Eyes Don’t See is the inspiring story of how Dr. Mona—accompanied by an idiosyncratic team of researchers, parents, friends, and community leaders—proved that Flint’s kids were exposed to lead and then fought her own government and a brutal backlash to expose that truth to the world. Paced like a scientific thriller, this book shows how misguided austerity policies, the withdrawal of democratic government, and callous bureaucratic indifference placed an entire city at risk. And at the center of the story is Dr. Mona herself—an immigrant, doctor, scientist, and mother whose family’s activist roots inspired her pursuit of justice.
What the Eyes Don’t See is a riveting, beautifully rendered account of a shameful disaster that became a tale of hope, the story of a city on the ropes that came together to fight for justice, self-determination, and the right to build a better world for their—and all of our—children.
Order your copy of What the Eyes Don’t See here.
The Flint Registry
People who were impacted by the Flint water crisis are eligible to pre-enroll into this registry. The registry includes those who lived, worked, received childcare or went to school in Flint, and those who were exposed during pregnancy.
The goal of the Flint Registry is to identify individuals exposed to the Flint water crisis and connect them to resources aimed at minimizing the effects of lead on their health, while promoting wellness and recovery. One of the registry’s goals is to assess for ongoing lead exposure and refer participants to lead elimination resources.
In August 2017, Michigan State University received $3.2M, the first installment of a 4-year, $14.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop the registry in collaboration with leadership from the City of Flint, Greater Flint Health Coalition, educators, clinicians, community-based organizations and Flint residents. The Flint Registry is part of the Centers for Disease Control’s ongoing efforts across the country to reduce and prevent exposure to lead as part of its Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program.
In addition to linking people to supportive programs and resources, the registry will document the effects on residents affected by lead-tainted tap water and evaluate the effectiveness of health, educational, environmental and community services on improving the health of participants. Everyone who was exposed to the Flint water is eligible for the Flint Registry. The Flint Registry will begin enrollment this fall; pre-enrollment is live now.
Pre-enroll by visiting the registry website at www.flintregistry.org. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (833) GO-FLINT.