Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is calling for the resignation of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder over his handling of the Flint water crisis.
"There are no excuses. The governor long ago knew about the lead in Flint's water. He did nothing," Sanders said in a release. "As a result, hundreds of children were poisoned. Thousands may have been exposed to potential brain damage from lead. Gov. Snyder should resign."
The tap water in Flint, population 99,000, became contaminated after the city in 2014 switched its water supply to the Flint River while a pipeline to Lake Huron is under construction. The corrosive water lacked adequate treatment and caused lead to leach from old pipes in homes, schools and elsewhere.
Flint returned to the Detroit system in October, after elevated lead levels were discovered in children, and could tap into the new pipeline by summer. But officials remain concerned that damage to the pipes could allow them to continue leaching lead. Exposure to lead can cause behavior problems and learning disabilities in children as well as kidney ailments in adults.
Everyone is urged to get a free filter. The National Guard is distributing water, filters and other supplies.
According to Sanders, the governor and state officials knew about the problem, but did not acknowledge it until the fall.
"Because of the conduct by Gov. Snyder's administration and his refusal to take responsibility, families will suffer from lead poisoning for the rest of their lives," he added. "Children in Flint will be plagued with brain damage and other health problems. The people of Flint deserve more than an apology."