November 27, 2021

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“Racism Plays Major Part”: Like in Flint, Lead Pipes Leave Benton Harbor, Michigan, with Toxic Water

1 min read

Residents of Benton Harbor, Michigan, are calling for immediate action on replacing the city’s lead pipes, which have endangered their drinking water. Since 2018, tap water in the predominantly Black city has contained lead levels up to 60 times the federal limit. Yet government officials have only addressed the toxic contamination as an urgent crisis in recent days. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician who exposed a similar water crisis in the neighboring city of Flint, sees parallels between the two emergencies. “Every day that goes by when there is lead in the water is one day too long for the children of Benton Harbor,” she says. Reverend Edward Pinkney, president of the Benton Harbor Community Water Council, emphasizes that racism plays a major role in the government’s slow response. He says, “Since it’s Benton Harbor, a Black city, they figure this can continue.”

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