Filmmaker says Flint water crisis has become 'normalized'

Independent journalist and filmmaker Jordan Chariton says the water crisis in Flint, Mich., has become "normalized" while the city still struggles to recover.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE is important, don’t get me wrong, Russia is important. But an American city five years later does not have clean drinking water – that says something about our culture,” Chariton, who is the CEO of progressive media company Status Coup, told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball during an interview that aired Tuesday.

“It’s been normalized and that should not be normalized.”

The Flint water crisis first began in 2014 after officials switched the city’s water supply from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the Flint River. It was later discovered that the pipes sustained major corrosion, causing lead and other chemicals to seep into the city’s drinking water.

City and state officials denied there was problem for months. Even after the situation gained national attention, officials were accused of providing misleading and inaccurate information about the safety of the city's tap water.

Local residents have also longed blamed the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) for waiting too long to intervene and failing to warn residents of the contamination. A judge ruled last week that residents can now sue the federal government over how it handled its response. 

Residents and local lawmakers still question whether the city's tap water is safe to drink. Rep. Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy KildeeOn The Money: Judge rules banks can give Trump records to House | Mnuchin pegs debt ceiling deadline as 'late summer' | Democrats see momentum in Trump tax return fight | House rebukes Trump changes to consumer agency Democrats sense new momentum in Trump tax return fight Hollywood stars celebrate #RightToBearArts at DC gala MORE (D-Mich.) told Hill.TV in January that city is making progress but still has a long way to go.

"No, I don't think we can trust it yet," Kildee said. "It is getting better, we have to acknowledge that."

Chariton said local residents are still struggling with the effects of the crisis — something he personally witnessed while filming his new documentary, “Flushing Flint.”

“I met a 1-year [old] baby … she had white blisters all over her legs, arms and ears,” he told Hill.TV. “The mother was putting her in the bath for 20 to 30 minutes.”

He added that residents are also still getting rashes and experiencing hair loss after using the city's water.

Chariton said he hopes his new documentary, which premieres April 23, will shed more light on the crisis and the community at large.

“I hope they realize that this is not just a story about water poisoning,” he said. “It’s a story about a very poor community that was poisoned and then kind of left to fend for itself, and that’s concerning.”

—Tess Bonn