Chapter 26 - “Dear People of Flint”: environmental justice in a community context, the case of water contamination in Flint, Michigan

Elsevier, An Introduction to Interdisciplinary Toxicology, From Molecules to Man, 2020, Pages 353-361
Tamara L. Mix, Duane A. Gill

Rooted in social and political dynamics resulting in uneven exposure to environmental risks and hazards based on race and/or socioeconomic status, environmental inequality results in the systematic exclusion of people from environmental decision-making processes. As aging water infrastructure deteriorates, the likelihood of contamination in public water systems increases across the United States. The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, a human made disaster of dire proportions, resulted in bacterial and lead contamination of predominantly African American and low-income residents. We make use of an environmental justice framework to outline sociohistoric processes, delineate the role of stakeholders, consider the effects of social inequality on impacted residents, and address the agency of those involved to facilitate change to focus on dimensions of distributive, procedural, and corrective justice for the City of Flint