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Virginia Tech Water Scientists Featured in PBS's "Nova: Poisoned Water"

Courtesy WGBH

The water contamination disaster in Flint, Michigan uncovered a problem that also threatens many other communities. It came to light after water experts from Virginia Tech took the lead, testing the water there and sounding the alarm about what they found.  On Tuesday, May 31, the PBS Series Nova premiers a documentary called Poisoned Water exploring what happened and why. 

When the Detroit suburb of Flint, Michigan switched its municipal water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River without adding a crucial anti-corrosive chemical, it triggered a reaction that exposed thousands of people to lead poisoning.

Virginia Tech Chemical Engineer, Marc Edwards, is a top water expert. He warns, “Even one swallow of that water would cause lead poisoning of a child.  One swallow.”

He had been through this before when a similar thing happened in Washington D.C. and officials had also refused to admit there was a problem with the water.

"We were fighting the very agencies who were supposed to enforce the law.”

The one-hour PBS documentary details how Flint’s water contamination could have been avoided if authorities had better managed their water’s chemistry - and that the problem continues in many communities, where the water has been tested, and very likely many more, where it has not.

Edwards issues another warning -“We’ve got millions of those lead pipes out here.  Might be in front of your house.”

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