According to the researchers from Virginia Tech whose work was integral in drawing attention to Flint’s water crisis, their team reached out to three University of Michigan research programs in August 2015 for assistance with Flint research, but the University denied their requests.

Researchers declined to specify which organizations were contacted. The University was unable to comment on this matter.

Anurag Mantha, a Virginia Tech graduate student who has worked closely with Marc Edwards, environmental and water engineering professor at Virginia Tech and has received recognition across the state for bringing Flint’s lead water crisis to the national stage, explained in an interview with The Michigan Daily their experience doing this research.

“Dr. Edwards has had experience with government agencies not doing their job in the past. He already knew how to deal with these agencies and what to do and what not to do from prior experience,” Mantha said. “We actually reached out to three different research groups in Michigan Universities, this was in the very beginning, back in August of 2015, and none of them wanted to work with us.”

As the crisis has unfolded, many have wondered why other researchers or organizations in the state of Michigan have not harbored this same level of action.

Edwards was the first to test Flint water, identify the high amounts of lead it contained, assemble a team of researchers. He also set up a website to provide Flint residents with updates.

His work led to scrutiny on state leaders and prompted researchers to further investigate lead levels in the blood of children in Flint and work toward possible preventative measures. In January, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) appointed Edwards to the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee, aimed at finding a long-term strategy in Flint.

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