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Is the Flint, Michigan, hazardous water catastrophe a precursor to a wider epidemic throughout the United States? The story of Marc Edwards’s fight to educate and mobilize citizens in Washington, DC, and Flint provides a sobering cautionary tale about the dangers of contaminated water supplies. Fast Company senior writer Ben Paynter’s heartbreaking narrative offers a glimmer of hope for grassroots partnerships between communities and scientists. getAbstract recommends this article to people who care about environmental issues.

About the Author

Ben Paynter is a senior writer at Fast Company and a James Beard Award winner.



Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech environmental engineering professor, is a trusted scientist and hero to many residents of Flint, Michigan. Edwards has a history of wrestling with municipal bureaucracy. In 2003, the Cadmus Group – a subcontractor for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – hired Edwards to look into what was causing tiny leaks in the water pipes of many Washington, DC, homes. Edwards discovered something worrying: There were high levels of lead contamination in many private residences across DC. He urged the agency to test water throughout the city; instead, they...

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