Plano Reads: The Poisoned City

The book pick for Brown Bag Book Club this August is The Poisoned City by Anna Clark.

We will meet on Thursday, August 27, at 12 p.m. using Zoom. Register for this session by filling out your information on Zoom here. You can join this Zoom book club session via computer or phone.

The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and an American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark

Flint, Michigan, located in the middle of the Great Lakes Region, the largest source of fresh water in the world, declared a financial emergency in 2011. After which, various Emergency Managers took over and worked to reduce costs across the city. With cost savings on the mind, Flint changed the source of its municipal water from Detroit to the Flint river. The water from the new source smelled bad and was a brownish color. The Michigan officials assured Flint citizens that everything was fine with the water.

Almost immediately, warning signs are seen in several areas: the city announced a water boiling advisory, GM discontinued using tap water due to corrosion, and health officials saw a sudden increase in cases of Legionnaires disease, a severe form of pneumonia caused by the bacteria legionella. Like cholera, legionella is water based and is usually contracted by inhaling the bacteria from the water. None of these warning signs were getting back to the citizens of Flint. 

Then, in early 2015, Flint citizens first became aware of lead in their water. Lead is probably the most studied neurotoxin. Lead poisoning can cause learning difficulties, anti-social behaviors, organ damage or comas. If that isn’t scary enough, lead is known to have a multi-generational impact through epigenetic changes. Lead poisoning can change a child’s DNA. 

The long term consequences to the children and Flint’s schools and community cannot be guessed. Flint’s water crisis is a cautionary story of indifference and neglect.


Author Anna Clark website 


And here are news stories about the Flint, MI water crisis:

Frontline documentary

No Criminal Charges: Michigan Radio NPR

Flint Water Crisis: Michigan Radio NPR


Read more about lead poisoning and Legionnaires through the Mayo Clinic.

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