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Researchers, activists kick off effort to evaluate cancer incidence, link to Flint water crisis

Flint, Michigan


15 March 2023

In April 2014, the city of Flint, Mich., switched its municipal water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River.

This supply switch led water distribution pipes to corrode and tainted the city’s drinking water with lead and other contaminants. Even though the original water system has been reconnected, Flint is still dealing with the damage of this issue years later.

In November 2022, more than two dozen cancer researchers from across the United States met in downtown Flint with community organizers and public health leaders as part of an effort to determine whether the water crisis has had an impact on cancer rates or severity in Flint. This meeting marked the kickoff of the Flint Community Cancer Consortium.

Through the years, activists and residents have pushed to bring attention to cancer concerns after the botched water supply switch and to investigate whether there is a cancer cluster in the city. This kickoff meeting of the Flint Community Cancer Consortium aimed to bring together experts on cancer studies, provide insight for how this kind of work is done, and help discuss a potential road map for a cancer study in Flint.

The Consortium, which has received support from the National Minority Quality Forum, local officials, and the White House Cancer Moonshot initiative, plans to develop a study proposal, a plan for establishing community engagement in the process, and to seek out project funding and resources.

Learn more in The Detroit News from Kayla Ruble.


National Minority Quality Forum is a research and educational organization dedicated to ensuring that high-risk racial and ethnic populations and communities receive optimal health care. This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization integrates data and expertise in support of initiatives to eliminate health disparities.

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