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CITIZEN SCIENCE AND THE FLINT WATER CRISIS – TRIUMPH, TRAGEDY AND MISCONDUC...

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American University at the Katzen Arts Center

4400 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20016

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This event is a first-come, first-seated event, even for ticket-holding students. Please arrive early, as seats will be given to walk-in guests 5-10 minutes before the event begins.

Join us for a discussion with Marc Edwards, a civil engineering/environmental engineer and the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech.

An expert on water treatment and corrosion, Edwards's research on elevated lead levels in Washington, DC's municipal water supply gained national attention, changed the city's recommendations on water use in homes with lead service pipes, and caused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to admit to publishing a report so rife with errors that a congressional investigation called it "scientifically indefensible."

About the Washington, DC water crisis:

The 2001-2004 Washington D.C. lead in drinking water crisis (and its aftermath to the present day) was a unique case study in the history of engineering and scientific misconduct. The multi-year exposure of an unsuspecting population to very high levels of the best-known neurotoxin, was perpetrated by multiple government agencies whose sole mission was to protect the public health. These same agencies later published falsified research reports, covering up evidence of harm and justifying ill-conceived interventions wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and which created even more harm. Aspiring to uphold the duty of scientists and engineers to hold paramount the public good and welfare, Marc Edwards worked alongside collaborators in the public, press and in Congress for over a decade. Their efforts exposed some of the wrong- doing by the agencies and “hired gun” consultants, who brazenly twisted science to obfuscate the truth of what occurred. These experiences raise concerns about the veracity of “research” conducted and funded by government agencies, especially in crisis situations when public harm has occurred, as well as the need for checks and balances on agency power. When these lessons were applied to the 2014-2015 Flint water crisis, a citizen science collaboration between residents, scientists and other groups was formed to expose an unprecedented environmental injustice-- leading to public apologies, indictments, and hundreds of millions in relief funding. After the water crisis was officially acknowledged, however, a few reporters, academics, actors, activists and pseudo-scientists came to Flint, exploiting the tragedy to promote their own agendas, and creating yet another human tragedy in the process.

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American University at the Katzen Arts Center

4400 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20016

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