Virginia Tech researcher who exposed water crisis honored by cit - WNEM TV 5

Virginia Tech researcher who exposed water crisis honored by city

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

The man that blew the whistle on the whole thing was back in Mid-Michigan on Wednesday.

Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards penned the research in 2014 that started a domino effect, now known as the Flint water crisis.

“The people in Flint stood up, the medical community got involved, we reached this tipping point where the problem was exposed and got kids out of harm’s way,” Edwards said.

In a press conference at Hurley Medical Center, Edwards spoke about the crisis and how it was something he had seen once before.

“It's known to the press as the Washington D.C. drinking water crisis,” Edwards said.

Edwards said from 2001 to 2004 he conducted research on what he called "one of the worst public health disasters ever."

Thousands of babies and children were exposed to extremely poisonous levels of lead in Washington D.C. he blames this on scientific misconduct.

“And what happened was the water utility illegally invalidated samples, they hide the results,” Edwards said.

Edwards said going above and beyond governmental protocol was key in fixing the lead problem in both Flint and Washington D.C. however, the struggle isn't over.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha said there is still much more to be done.

“I'm not going to stop fighting for these kids and bringing in the resources we need,” Hanna-Attisha said. “It's unfortunate that nothing happened, whistle blowers were fired and everyone else got promoted. And that's wrong but that's not going to happen in Flint.”

Because of Edwards’ research in Flint, he was honored by Mayor Karen Weaver.

“I'm here because I wanted to present this plaque, Dr. Edwards, it's a small plaque, and the plaque does not begin to express the sincere gratitude that we have for you,” Weaver said.

Edwards said that residents of Flint should keep using water filters for at least the next six months. And that there are things we can do to stop future issues.

“The damage done from lead is irreversible. However it can be compensated against largely by good nutrition and other programs that Hurley is recommending,” Edwards said.

Edwards said it could still be months before the water issue is resolved in Flint.

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