Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards, an environmental engineer whose work helped uncover the Flint water crisis, penned a scathing critique of actor Mark Ruffalo and his Water Defense organization on Monday in which he blasted the actor for spreading “fear and misinformation” about the crisis that could worsen the problem for those affected.
In a post on the Flint Water Study website titled “A-List Actor but F-List Scientist: Mark Ruffalo Brings Fear and Misinformation to Flint,” Edwards excoriated Ruffalo and his nonprofit organization for making what he claimed are demonstrably false statements about the city’s water safety during a recent interview on CNN.
Ruffalo said during his May 5 appearance on CNN:
“[W]here the problem really lies…is not the EPA, nor the State of Michigan, nor Dr. Mona or Marc Edwards, can tell the people of Flint it is safe to bath in Flint water because there are no standards” …“we do not know where these disinfection by-products (DBPs) are coming from, are they coming from the corroded lead, or are they coming from galvanized iron pipes?”
Edwards writes that Ruffalo’s statements on CNN mirror a February press release from his Water Defense organization, titled “Dangerous Chemicals Discovered in Baths/Showers of Flint, MI,” written by the organization’s Chief Scientist, Scott Smith.
“Exactly how Mr. Smith earned a title of ‘Chief Scientist’ from Mr. Ruffalo is something of a mystery – he does not appear to have any scientific degree, nor has he played such a role in a movie,” the Virginia Tech professor wrote.
“The DANGEROUS CHEMICAL that Water Defense discovered and has been most concerned with? Chloroform. The same chemical that the EPA and water industry have been addressing for 40 years, and for which we now have standards via the total trihalomethane (TTHM) regulation,” Edwards added.
He continued by attacking the Avengers star’s “absurd hypothesis” that disinfection by-products (DBPs) could come from corroded lead or galvanized iron, a hypothesis the professor said “defies the laws of physics and chemistry.” Edwards also said that the actor’s Water Defense organization had “exploited the fears of traumatized Flint residents, whose unfortunate prior experience taught them to carefully listen to view of outsiders who question authority.”
“Mr. Ruffalo and Water Defense should be ashamed of themselves,” Edwards charged. “Flint residents currently need funding and moral support – not pseudoscience and false alarms.”
Representatives for Ruffalo and Water Defense did not immediately respond to Breitbart News’ requests for comment.
Ruffalo has long been a champion for environmental causes. In October, Water Defense formally called on California Gov. Jerry Brown to end the use of fossil fuels in the state. The actor has also teamed with fellow environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio on a clean energy initiative.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum