FLINT, Mich. — The head of the Michigan health department has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in Flint’s lead-tainted water crisis.
Nick Lyon is accused of failing to alert the public about an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area, which has been linked by some experts to poor water quality in 2014-15.
Charges were read Wednesday in a Flint court. Lyon is the highest-ranking official to be charged in the state attorney general’s investigation.
Flint began using water from the Flint River in 2014 but didn’t treat it to reduce corrosion. Lead from old plumbing leached into the water system.
is a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria that thrive in warm water and infect the lungs.
Blood samples showed kids under the age of than 6 were almost 50 percent more likely to have elevated blood lead levels when the city used the Flint River for drinking water instead of the Detroit water system, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded last year.
“This, and a startling reminder of the critical need to eliminate all sources of lead from our children’s environment,” Patrick Breysse, director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, said at the time.
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