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The Battle for Safe Drinking Water: Lessons from Flint, Michigan

The Battle for Safe Drinking Water: Lessons from Flint, Michigan from The Ohio Environmental Council on Vimeo.


Tune into Ohio Environmental Council’s conversation with nationally-recognized advocates Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha and Elin Warn Betanzo. Together these two powerhouse women uncovered and exposed the lead-in-water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

When the Flint Water crisis reached its peak in 2016, over 10,000 children ages zero to six were impacted by lead-poisoned water. Longtime friends, Elin and Mona supported one another as they battled government and a brutal backlash to reveal how financially-driven policies, broken democracy and bureaucratic indifference placed Flint kids in harm’s way. When Elin tipped off Mona to the water quality changes happening in Flint, Mona used science to prove that Flint’s children had elevated lead levels in their blood as a result of poisoned drinking water.

An immigrant, pediatrician, scientist, and mother, Mona was inspired by her family’s activist roots in her pursuit of justice on behalf of the kids of Flint. (Learn more about Mona’s book, What the Eyes Don’t see at

Trained as a professional engineer, Elin built her drinking water expertise working for the US EPA. She now leads her own consulting firm, Safe Water Engineering (, which works to improve access to safe drinking water through engineering and policy consulting.

This fascinating conversation helps shed light on the lead-in-water problems we’ve tackled in Ohio and the threats we must still address.