Home » Downloads » Watch the following Frontline Documentary, Flint’s Deadly Water, which details one of the worst U.S. public health crises

Watch the following Frontline Documentary, Flint’s Deadly Water, which details one of the worst U.S. public health crises

Watch the following Frontline Documentary, Flint’s Deadly Water, which details one of the worst U.S. public health crises

Watch the following Frontline Documentary, Flint’s Deadly Water, which details one of the worst U.S. public health crises that specifically happened due to multiple public health inefficiencies.

Available at: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/flints-deadly-water/

Original Posting

In your original posting, choose one of the following sections and answer the questions contained under your chosen section. Be sure to include why you chose that section of questions and why you found it to be the most influential reason why the Flint public health crisis occurred.

Civil Rights: Why are civil rights especially important for Flint residents? How do you think racial discrimination in civil rights in America might play a role in the Flint crisis? Some critics of the Flint crisis called the Emergency Managers “dictators” because of the decision-making power they had due to the city’s impending risk of bankruptcy. Do you think this comment is justified? Do you think Flint citizens’ civil rights were shortchanged due to the appointment of “emergency managers”? How might a focus on civil rights help address attempts at urban renewal in Flint

Poverty: How does the poverty rate in Flint compare to poverty rates elsewhere in the United States? Discussions about poverty often use the words inequity and inequality as if they mean the same thing, but they do not; Inequity is a lack of fairness or injustice while inequality is a disparity or difference in size or circumstances. How would you use these two words in relation to those affected by the Flint crisis? How did poverty increase Flint children’s risk of exposure to lead in the water? How did poverty affect families’ access to healthy foods and the ability to find and purchase safe water alternatives? What is the connection between poverty and health care access in the United States? Consider the stressors of poverty and how they increase poor health.

National Risks: Discuss the role of national safety in this local crisis. For example, The Flint crisis illustrates the failure of American governance at the city, state, and federal levels, despite political systems designed to create national norms of health for all who live in the U.S. What happened in Flint alarms experts because it is a symptom of a crisis that could happen elsewhere. For example, Professor Marc Edwards’ interest in the Flint story arose from his discovery of similar issues in Washington, D.C. The crisis in Flint concerns many because it was so easy for incompetence and poor governmental choices to result in the violation of national standards designed to keep people safe and healthy in their homes. Many who moved away from Flint said they will never quite trust the water, no matter where they live. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Politics: Political factors play a big role in the Flint water crisis. How did politics affect health in this story? Consider the distinct effects of local city government in Michigan with that of national organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). How influential in decisions about safe water were: Political budgetary concerns? The Receivership (near-bankruptcy) status of the city? The EPA? The literal cost of raising water prices? What were the negative political consequences of the crisis? How do you think political factors might play a positive role in cleaning up water and healthy access to water in Flint?

Health: In Flint, a non-health-related series of crisis situations led to a health crisis. Consider how health often depends on social factors much more than it depends on good medicine. What social factors in Flint are not directly about health that nonetheless harmed children’s health? Are Flint’s children at special risk because they are poor and may have substandard access to proper medical care? Why? Discuss the consequences of lead exposure. What is the short-term vs. long-term impact? What amount of lead is a healthy dose? Discuss the consequences and potential health costs to Flint citizens of other contaminants that were discussed in this story (e.g. E. coli; trihalomethane).

Policy: What policies did state government workers pay attention to in deciding to switch Flint’s water source? What is the role of government policy in the legal debates over costs and consequences? Does this change depending on what level of government (federal, state, and local) is acting? What policies were ignored? How are legal policy, environmental policy, and health policy all part of the debates and factors in this narrative?

Environment: The Flint water crisis was caused by human action that led to environmental contamination. Environment includes not only the natural environment (water, soil, air), but also the social environment of urbanization. How did the crisis affect Flint’s environment? Do you know what happens to contaminated pipes when they are replaced or upgraded? How does such “waste disposal” affect the broader environment? What environmental effect do you think followed from Flint resident\’s new need to depend entirely on safe water from other sources (e.g., plastic bottles that need proper recycling)?

Legal Action: Who blamed who in the Flint water crisis? Who had the power to push for legal action? What positive role does legal action play in a crisis like Flint’s? Debate the issue of liability in a situation where government workers were expected to comply with their supervisors and act on decisions they did not always understand. What legal action might have the greatest power to improve the lives of those children whose learning potential is permanently affected by lead poisoning as a result of the crisis?

Public Health Campaigns: How did public awareness of health issues influence this story? What form did public information about health and health risk in Flint take? Usually, public health campaigns are driven by citizens in collaboration with local public health organizations, including local government. Discuss the role of the public health organizations in the Flint crisis in communicating effective timely information about the risks in the water.

Governance: International, national, state, and local government organizations are responsible for governance decisions that make it possible for ordinary people to live well, affecting both economics and health. Yet often those responsible for economic governance (the budgets) compete with those responsible for health governance (health systems and health care access). Discuss these competing governance tensions as they played a role in the Flint water crisis. How can those who govern budgets increase their focus on the importance of health? How can those who govern health effectively communicate with politicians who care primarily about balancing the books? Why is health important for economic flourishing and development around the world?

Response Postings

Answer the following questions when responding to your peers:

Why do you feel your chosen section is of greater importance when considering why the Flint Water Crisis occurred.

When considering your found reflections throughout your original posting, what three (3) recommendations do you have for your peers that will help to ensure the Flint crisis never happens again?


At least three (3) journal articles utilized throughout your original discussion posting.

All supportive literature will be obtained via peer-reviewed evidence-based articles within the last five (5) years.

Refer to the Discussion Posting Rubric located in your syllabus for grading specifics, including the late policy.

Requirements: Whatever is required

Answer preview to watch the following Frontline Documentary, Flint’s Deadly Water, which details one of the worst U.S. public health crises

Watch the following Frontline Documentary Flint's Deadly Water which details one of the worst U.S. public health crises


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