MEC President Chris Kolb named to co-chair Flint water task force

MEC President Chris Kolb was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder in October to co-chair a task force charged with determining the root causes of Flint's drinking water crisis, and making recommendations to ensure nothing like it happens again in Michigan.

In what has become a national news story and a full-fledged public health emergency, state officials now acknowledge that unsafe drinking water from the Flint River exposed children, pregnant women and other city residents to dangerous levels of lead. Flint has since switched back to Detroit as its water source.

Lead exposure causes irreversible brain damage, which results in learning disabilities and can lead to violent behavior in children and adults. The effects are both heartbreaking and costly–childhood lead poisoning costs Michigan $330 million a year in decreased lifetime earnings and increased costs for health care, crime and special education.

"I take my responsibility as co-chair very seriously," Kolb said. "We owe it to the Flint families impacted by this terrible situation to find out what went wrong. Just as importantly, we need to establish some clear guidelines so no Michigan community has to go through this again."

Also on the task force are co-chair Ken Sikkema, a senior policy fellow with Public Sector Consultants and former majority leader of the Michigan Senate; Dr. Matthew Davis, a University of Michigan professor of pediatrics and internal medicine and the former chief medical executive with the Michigan Department of Community Health; water consultant Eric Rothstein; and Dr. Lawrence Reynolds, president of the Mott Children's Health Center in Flint.

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