Following a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that coincided with the Flint water crisis, a team of scientists urged the state’s top health official, Nick Lyon, to step up surveillance for the disease or else more people could die. His response, they say, was, “They’ll have to die of something.”
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That’s just one in a chain of troubling alleged incidents being reported in new detail — or for the first time — in “Flint’s Deadly Water.” Based on two years of reporting, the FRONTLINE documentary premiering September 10 reveals how a public health disaster that’s become known for the lead poisoning of thousands of children also spawned one of the largest outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in U.S. history.
Nick Lyon declined to be interviewed by FRONTLINE. In a letter, his attorney said, “Director Lyon did not make that crass remark.” He said the team’s work was one of Lyon’s top priorities and blamed any delays on the scientists.
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Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the Park Foundation, The John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.