Michigan health chief Nick Lyon has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for his involvement in the Flint water crisis, CBS reports.
In charges read in court Wednesday morning, Lyon is accused of failing to alert the public about an outbreak of Legionnaires disease which has been linked to the poor water conditions in Flint from 2014-2015.
When Flint began using water from the Flint River in 2014 without treating the eroded plumbing systems and the polluted water, lead began to leak into the city’s water supply.
According to the CDC, children who lived in Flint under the age of 6 were almost “50 percent more likely to have elevated blood lead levels once the city’s drinking water source switched to the river.”
In 2016, President Barack Obama declared the area a state of emergency, as residents reported hair loss, rashes and exposure to toxins from water contamination. 9,000 children were diagnosed with lead poisoning.
Since the outbreak, resources have poured into the city, with a court ruling in favor of a $97 million dollar settlement to go towards replacing the pipes. Residents have been instructed to continue to use bottled water for drinking and bathing until the overhaul of the system is complete.
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