Residents in Flint, Mich., have been protesting how the state and city have handled the water crisis since Flint made the big switch and started pumping its drinking water from the Flint River. Credit: Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

As state officials continued to downplay the lead risk to Flint’s children, last August, research scientists from Virginia Tech got involved. They warned people in the Michigan city to stop drinking the tap water.

Tests showed high levels of lead in that water – and lead is especially harmful to young children. It can lead to conditions such as a lower IQ and attention problems. And once that lead gets into a kid’s blood, the damage is done. You can’t reverse it.

In this story, we’ll hear from the researchers and meet a Flint pediatrician who risked her reputation to change the city’s course.

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Julia B. Chan worked at The Center for Investigative Reporting until June, 2017. Julia B. Chan is a producer and the digital editor for Reveal's national public radio program. She’s the voice of Reveal online and manages the production and curation of digital story assets that are sent to more than 200 stations across the country. Previously, Chan helped The Center for Investigative Reporting launch YouTube’s first investigative news channel, The I Files, and led engagement strategies – online and off – for multimedia projects. She oversaw communications, worked to better connect CIR’s work with a bigger audience and developed creative content and collaborations to garner conversation and impact.

Before joining CIR, Chan worked as a Web editor and reporter at the San Francisco Examiner. She managed the newspaper’s digital strategy and orchestrated its first foray into social media and online engagement. A rare San Francisco native, she studied broadcasting at San Francisco State University, focusing on audio production and recording. Chan is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.