Elevated Levels Of Industrial Chemicals Found In Flint River

LAPEER, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – State regulators say they’ve detected elevated levels of a group of toxic chemicals in the Flint River and its tributaries that apparently came from an industrial facility in the eastern Michigan city of Lapeer.

The Department of Environmental Quality said Monday it discovered the chemicals in samples taken from Lapeer’s sewage collection system.

The chemicals are called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. They’re used in many industrial applications and products including firefighting foams and non-stick cookware.

Because they don’t degrade in the environment, they can accumulate in fish and wildlife.

The DEQ says an electroplating facility is a “significant source” of the chemicals. They are jointly working to stop the discharge.

Officials say the issue isn’t related to the lead contamination and other issues with Flint’s drinking water.

In 2015,  doctors were urging Flint to stop using water from the Flint River after blood tests revealed more children in the city with higher levels of lead.

Meanwhile, in a Flint courtroom — the former head of disease control testifying that she left it to the governor’s office to tell the public about a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the Flint, Michigan, area during the city’s water crisis.

Corinne Miller returned to court Wednesday as a witness in a criminal case against her former boss, Nick Lyon, the head of the Department of Health and Human Services. He’s charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a man who had Legionnaires’ disease. A judge must decide if the case goes to trial.

Lyon is accused of failing to timely alert the public about the 2014-2015 outbreak. Miller says it was “unprecedented for Genesee County.”

She says it was a sensitive topic because Flint was being run by an emergency manager appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Miller’s former boss, Nick Lyon, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office. Prosecutors say a timely alert about the Legionnaires’ outbreak might have saved 85-year-old Robert Skidmore. He died of congestive heart failure, six months after he got Legionnaires’.

Lyon remains director of the Health and Human Services Department. Miller pleaded no contest to willful neglect of duty.

 

 

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 

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