FLINT: documentary about toxic tap water in the US

Residents in the Michigan town of Flint suffered for years due to contaminated drinking water. The scandal of this man-made disaster is the subject of a documentary by British director Anthony Baxter, narrated by actor Alec Baldwin. It shows on BBC Scotland and iPlayer on 1 December. 

Flint: toxic tap water ruins lives of poor mainly black residents

Filmed by Anthony Baxter over five years, the documentary FLINT tells the untold story about the man-made disaster that continues to haunt America. It screens at 10pm on Tues 1 December at 10pm and is on BBC iPlayer nationwide thereafter. Duration: 1hr 54 mins.


FLINT - described as a 'monumental testimonial' -  provides chapter and verse on what is the largest water poisoning disaster in American history. The story is presented through the eyes of the people of Flint, whose health and lives have been shattered; and it exposes the power battles and political failures that left them drinking contaminated water that was rejected by the local General Motors factory because it corroded car parts.  

FLINT offers insight into what happens to the poorest in society when trust between them, the authorities and vested interests breaks down.

The film's narrated by Alec Baldwin and interviewees include rapper Mama Sol, who was born and raised in Flint. She's recorded and widely performs a song on the crisis, Hard To Swallow, which is used in the film.  

Story recap

As the birthplace of General Motors, Flint was once one of the most prosperous cities in the world. But in the middle of the last decade, its industrial heyday long gone, the then Michigan governor presided over a move save money by getting the water supply from the local polluted river, rather than the Great Lakes.

 With brown water coming out of their taps, local people started reporting alarming and worrying illnesses and a campaign started to get the water supply changed. But although that did happen, Flint's corrosive water, which had not been properly treated, had eaten into the city’s old pipes, unleashing lead particles through the drinking water supply, potentially affecting the bloodstream of thousands of children. According to a local paediatrician, many youngsters have been left with permanent damage to their brains and reproductive systems.

The Flint water disaster attracted support for residents from actors Mark Ruffalo and Alec Baldwin, who used their celebrity to let the world know what was knowingly happening.

Watch the trailer: here


ALEC BALDWIN: 'Do you think they let happen what happened in Flint, because Flint is poor, or African American or both?'

FLINT MAYOR: 'I think it's both.  'I think it's an issue of race and class.'