Doctor who exposed Flint water crisis to speak at IWU
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Doctor who exposed Flint water crisis to speak at IWU

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BLOOMINGTON — The pediatrician who exposed the Flint water crisis will be the Founders Day speaker on Wednesday at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha will give her talk, “The Flint Water Crisis: A Journey for Justice,” at 11 a.m. in Presser Hall's Westbrook Auditorium, 1210 N. Park St. The talk is free and open to the public.

Hanna-Attisha, director of the Pediatric Residency Program at Hurley Children's Hospital in Flint, was alerted that Marc Edwards, a water engineer and Virginia Tech University professor, had found high lead levels in the water of Flint residents' homes.

Checking hospital medical records, she found significant increases in children's blood lead levels after the city switched water sources. Flint had been buying Lake Huron water from Detroit, but a cost-cutting switch to the Flint River led to corrosion of pipes and leaching of lead into the water.

High lead levels in children's blood can result in physical and mental harm, including behavioral and learning problems.

When Hanna-Attisha announced her findings at a press conference, state officials initially disputed them. But a little more than a week later, the results were confirmed.

Hanna-Attisha was named a Health Care Hero by Crain's Detroit Business. She also was named one of the Best Physicians of the Year for 2016 by Medscape. She has testified before Congress about the ongoing Flint water crisis.

She directs the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, a joint effort of the Hurley Medical Center and Michigan State University, to research, monitor and mitigate the impact of Flint's water lead crisis.

Follow Lenore Sobota on Twitter: @pg_sobota

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