Snyder: About 200 Flint kids have elevated blood-lead levels

AP News
|
Posted: Jan 27, 2016 6:32 PM
Snyder: About 200 Flint kids have elevated blood-lead levels

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The latest on Flint's water crisis and efforts to fix the problem of lead in the drinking water (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

Gov. Rick Snyder says officials have identified about 200 Flint children with elevated blood-lead levels since the city's water crisis was exposed in the fall.

Snyder disclosed the figure during a tele-town hall event Wednesday with nearly 8,000 listeners. He says the state is working to ensure all kids are tested.

Michigan officials had said earlier Wednesday that water samples in Flint are "trending better," but that it's too soon to give the go-ahead to residents to resume drinking unfiltered water.

Department of Environmental Quality Interim Director Keith Creagh said the test results are not statistically valid because there's no guarantee homeowner-provided samples are coming from homes at higher risk. Further testing continues.

___

5:35 p.m.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has convened the first meeting of a panel that will work on finding solutions for Flint residents whose drinking water is contaminated with lead, something he calls a "terrible tragedy."

The Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee is a 17-member panel that will make recommendations regarding the health of people exposed to lead, study Flint's water infrastructure, and establish ways to improve communication between local and state government.

Snyder told committee members it presents an opportunity to "leverage the resources" each brings.

The committee includes Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards, who has extensively studied the issue in Flint and elsewhere, and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who is credited with bringing the problem to the public's attention after state agencies initially dismissed her concerns.

___

3:45 p.m.

Senate Democratic Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois says Democrats will offer an amendment to a bill on the Senate floor to address the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Durbin says Democratic Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan will seek to amend a Senate energy bill being debated on Thursday. Durbin offered few details, but said the measure would "protect children from water that is deadly or poisonous."

State officials disconnected Flint from Detroit's water supply in 2014 and began using the Flint River to save money. Regulators failed to ensure the new water was treated properly and lead from pipes leached into the water supply, contributing to a spike in child lead exposure.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a Democratic candidate for president, called Flint's water problems "one of the great public health crises in modern times."

___

2:45 p.m.

Democrats in Michigan's Republican-controlled Legislature have introduced legislation to repeal an emergency manager law they say contributed to Flint's lead-tainted water crisis.

The law lets the state appoint a manager to control a local government or school district's finances. Flint was under state financial management when it disconnected from Detroit's water supply and began using the Flint River to save money.

State environmental regulators failed to ensure the new water was treated properly, which led to lead from pipes leaching into the supply.

Rep. LaTanya Garrett says emergency managers are unaccountable to residents and notes the worsening finances of Detroit's school district under state management.

Majority Republicans favor the law. House Republican spokesman Gideon D'Assandro acknowledges "mistakes were made in Flint" but says there are no cities under emergency management for the first time in 15 years. He says "that shows the early warning program and improved intervention measures we put in place worked."

___

1 p.m.

Michigan officials say that water samples in Flint are "trending better," but that it's too soon to give the go-ahead to residents to resume drinking unfiltered water.

Residents have been using bottled water and filters because the improperly treated supply was tainted with lead from pipes leading to old homes.

State Department of Environmental Quality Interim Director Keith Creagh stressed Wednesday that the test results are not statistically valid because there's no guarantee homeowner-provided samples are coming from homes at higher risk. Further testing continues.

Creagh says officials are studying whether the city's pipes are being recoated with enough of a lining of phosphates to keep the lead from leaching.

The state is working to identify newer neighborhoods with no lead pipes, so those residents can potentially get the all-clear on their water sooner.

___

12:05 p.m.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she has hired a Virginia Tech professor whose extensive testing helped bring the city's lead-tainted water problems to light.

Weaver said at a news conference Wednesday that Marc Edwards will oversee all water testing done by the state and federal governments. She added he will be "fully independent," report to her and get paid through private donations. She also touched on the issue of Flint residents' water bills. Supplemental funding approved by the state House last week included $3 million to help residents pay their bills.

Gov. Rick Snyder says Edwards and Weaver are part of a 17-member group of medical experts selected to determine long-term solutions to fix Flint's water system and help residents who have been exposed to lead.

Snyder also announced that the state would have an increased administrative presence in Flint and called it the beginning of a long-term effort.

___

9:20 a.m.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver have scheduled a news conference to address the actions the Michigan city has taken and the next steps it will take to deal with a public health emergency caused by lead-tainted water.

The state's website says the news conference will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Others expected at the news conference are Michigan State Police Capt. Chris Kelenske, Department of Environmental Quality Interim Director Keith Creagh and Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon.

___

9 a.m.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has named a group of medical and field experts to a committee that will determine long-term solutions to fix Flint's water system and help residents who have been exposed to lead.

In a news release issued Wednesday, the governor says the 17-member committee will make recommendations regarding the health of people exposed to lead, study Flint's water infrastructure and determine potential upgrades, and establish ways to improve communication between local and state government.

The committee includes Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards, who has extensively studied the issue in Flint and elsewhere, and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who is credited with bringing the problem to the public's attention after state agencies initially dismissed her concerns.

Members will serve three-year terms expiring Dec. 31, 2018.

___

8 a.m.

A new lawsuit asks a federal judge to force Michigan and the city of Flint to replace all lead pipes in Flint's water system to ensure residents have a safe drinking supply.

The complaint, filed Wednesday, says service lines from water mains into homes should be replaced at no cost to customers. The suit seeks an order requiring city and state officials to remedy alleged violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

It's at least the fourth lawsuit filed over Flint's lead-tainted water. The others seek financial damages and class-action status.

The plaintiffs are the Natural Resources Defense Council, American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, Concerned Pastors for Social Action and resident Melissa Mays.

This item has been corrected to reflect the proper name of the Natural Resources Defense Council.