UM Common Reading Experience 2020: What the Eyes Don't See

Head of Research and Instruction & Associate Professor

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Melissa Dennis
106-A J.D. Williams Library


Here is the inspiring story of how Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, alongside a team of researchers, parents, friends, and community leaders, discovered that the children of Flint, Michigan, were being exposed to lead in their tap water—and then battled her own government and a brutal backlash to expose that truth to the world. Paced like a scientific thriller, What the Eyes Don’t See reveals how misguided austerity policies, broken democracy, and callous bureaucratic indifference placed an entire city at risk. And at the center of the story is Dr. Mona herself—an immigrant, doctor, scientist, and mother whose family’s activist roots inspired her pursuit of justice.

What the Eyes Don’t See is a riveting account of a shameful disaster that became a tale of hope, the story of a city on the ropes that came together to fight for justice, self-determination, and the right to build a better world for their—and all of our—children.

-- Penguin Random House

Flint Water Crisis

Flint Water Crisis

Introduction to the Flint Water Crisis

Scientific Articles

In the News and Elsewhere


Compare the Michigan state government's timeline with two others from NBC and NPR. What are the differences in information/perspective? What kind of bias does each have?

Borrowed from


Library Books

Water Crisis Articles in Other Areas

  • Did Water Kill Children in Woburn? In Bellwether Case, Massachusetts Families Link Contamination With Leukemia, Source: Washington Post Summary: Woburn Water Contamination: 10 miles from the Fenway, Woburn, MA was the center of a water contamination disaster in the 1960's and 70's, caused by industrial waste.

  • Making Sense of "Day Zero": Slow Catastrophes, Anthropocene Futures, and the Story of Cape Town's Water Crisis, Source: Water (Scholarly Journal Article)  Summary: The extraordinary events of Day Zero raised the specter of Mad Max-style water wars. They also led to the development of new forms of solidarity, with water acting as a social leveler. The paper argues that the events in Cape Town open a window onto the future, to the extent that it describes something about what happens when the added stresses of climate change are mapped onto already-contested social and political situations.

  • Walkerton revisited: how our psychological defenses may influence responses to water crises, Source: Ecology and Society (Scholarly Journal Article) Summary: When the drinking water in Walkerton, Ontario (2000) was contaminated - sending 65 people to the hospital and killing seven people - outrage and recriminations quickly reached the provincial Parliament and Toronto media outlets. Failure to recognize the intrinsic role of emotions in water decisions and policy could undermine efforts to respond to climatic uncertainties, water demands, and extreme events that will intensify and threaten our water security.

  • India's Water Crisis, New York Times Opinion piece by Meera Subramanian. Summary: To survive the climate emergency, India needs the collective power of small-scale, nature-based efforts. 

Mississippi Water Resources

Find out About Your Water


Websites for Public Reports on Public Water Systems and Wells


How to Find Your Public Water System's Annual Consumer Confidence Report? MS State Department of Health

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

EPA Map with links to reports by system

Mississippi Private Well Populations Report 

Mississippi Public Service Commission Zap the Gap 

For more information on private well populations in Mississippi and/or public water supplies, contact one of the following agencies:
Mississippi State Department of Health
Bureau of Public Water Supply
P.O. Box 1700
Jackson, MS 39215-1700
(601) 576-7518
Center for Government and Community Development
Mississippi State University Extension Service
P.O. Box 9643
Mississippi State, MS 39762
(662) 325-3141
Mississippi State Department of Health
Division of Onsite Wastewater
Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) contains information about public water systems and their violations of EPA’s drinking water regulations, as reported to EPA by the states.