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Legislative committee hears from Flint on water crisis

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio

There were some angry and emotional moments at a hearing today in Flint. A joint legislative committee heard from local officials and residents on the city’s water crisis.

Lee-Anne Walters is a Flint mom who tried to call attention to tests that showed high lead levels in her drinking water. Walters says one of her children asked if he was going to die because of the lead in the water.

“They just turned five last week. I have twins,” she told the committee. “One’s 56 pounds. One’s 35. He hasn’t grown in a year.”  

City and county officials say they hold the state Department of Environmental Quality primarily responsible for the mistakes that caused lead to leach into the water.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician who tried early on to call attention to lead in the drinking water. She says the state’s delayed response was harmful to children. But he says there’s a lot that can be done to help.

“This is not a throwaway generation,” she said. “Our children are going to be fine, but they’re going to be even better if we invest in them now, and we provide them with the additional resources, the additional wraparound resources so we can mitigate the effects of the exposure.  

Hanna-Attisha says the state should do more to get families in Flint onto food assistance. A Genesee County health official also called for creating an independent state public health ombudsman.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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