Public health emergency declared in Flint

Associated Press

Flint — Officials have declared a public health emergency over the city of Flint’s water after tests showed children with elevated levels of lead.

The city has drawn water from the Flint River after breaking ties to the Detroit water system last year. Residents have complained about the smell and taste, which officials had said met all safety standards.

But doctors recently reported high levels of lead in blood samples from children, as the water apparently aggravated lead in old pipes in homes.

Genesee County Commissioners recommended Thursday that people not drink the water unless tests show lower lead levels or the water has gone through an approved filter.

A coalition of citizens and national groups asked the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday to order Flint to re-join Detroit’s water system.

Meanwhile, The Flint Journal reports that more than 5,000 residents will be able to get filters. The General Motors Foundation, the local United Way and others have given at least $105,000 to buy filters.

Gov. Rick Snyder has pledged to announce some type of action by the end of the week. He says the consequences of using the river weren’t “fully understood.”

Flint officials say they know which homes have risky pipes but the information is on about 45,000 index cards.