Déjà Vu: Flint Pediatrician Speaks About the Newark Water Crisis

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is helping to bring attention to the high lead levels in Newark, New Jersey’s drinking water—some of the highest recently recorded by a large water system in the United States.

This is a transcript of the video.

This is a community, a large population of people who do not have safe drinking water in America in the 21st century.

This is not right. This should be national news.

The lead levels in the water in Newark, New Jersey, are some of the highest lead-in-water levels of any community right now in our nation.

They are far above the EPA action level, which is not even a health-based action level, and they are threatening and endangering the lives of everybody in Newark who drinks this water, especially the children.

We know there's no safe level of lead because of what lead does to children. It impacts cognition, which means it drops IQ levels, it impacts behavior, leads to things like developmental disorders, attention issues, focusing problems.

I did the research that kind of uncovered the rising blood lead levels in Flint, and when that came out, it was dismissed and denied and attacked by those who were telling us that the water was safe.

So when I come to Newark, it's this incredible sense of déjà vu that I've been through this before. Amazing, heroic residents. Moms, dads. I mean even Newark kids are saying, Hey, there's something wrong with our water, we know the lead levels in the water, and they're also being told that everything is okay, that it's not as big of a problem as they're making it out to be.

Turning on the Tap in America

What Flint has taught us—and really what we've known for decades—is that it's people who are poor. People who are predominantly minority whom have less political power, less clout, are predominantly burdened by environmental contamination.

It is something we need to act on. It's something that we need to truly respect the science on.

If we've learned anything from Flint, Flint was this kind of crazy story where science was denied, and science helped speak truth to power, and Newark is in the midst of another very similar lead-in-water crisis.

This is all of our duty. It is our very civic and human responsibility to stand up and to fight for children no matter who they are and no matter where we are.

That is what it means to be human.

Newark Drinking Water Crisis


Many communities across the nation are concerned about their water quality—especially the presence of lead. Here, Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician who helped expose the lead water crisis in Flint, Michigan, talks about the dangers of lead in children and why we must protect them from this toxic metal.

NRDC in Action

Nearly three years after winning a $97 million legal settlement that required the city of Flint to replace its lead water service lines, NRDC is still on the ground holding officials accountable, and using similar tactics as we demand clean water for the residents of Newark.

You Asked, We Answered

Seth Siegel, author of the new book “Troubled Water: What’s Wrong with What We Drink,” says we must change people’s mind-sets and get to the root of the issue to ensure safe drinking water for everyone.

Northeast Dispatch

Denials and delays from city officials have failed to keep residents safe from high levels of lead in their drinking water. These community organizers are busy picking up the slack.

Officials may have finally acknowledged the drinking water crisis in this New Jersey city, but that hasn’t stopped them from misleading residents. Here are the facts.

Personal Action

Residents of cities like Pittsburgh and Newark continue to face high levels of this toxic metal in their drinking water supplies. Here’s what to do if this crisis affects you.


Everything you need to know in order to fill a glass from your faucet with confidence.

onEarth Story

Vague regulations let government officials hide drinking water contamination from the public.


America is facing its second lead crisis. This time around, the effects are less obvious, but no less worrying.

Northeast Dispatch

The state now requires its public schools to test their drinking water for lead. But few districts have made it clear how they’re addressing the troubles at their taps.

Northeast Dispatch

The tireless efforts of locals are reshaping one of New Jersey’s most polluted areas.

You Asked, We Answered

Lots of people think drinking bottled water is safer. Is it?

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