The state said Friday that purified water it sent to Flint state offices in January of 2015 was for use by the public, not just state employees.(Photo: Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press)Buy Photo



WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Agriculture rejected Gov Rick Snyders plea the extend a federal nutrition program to children up to age 10 in and around Flint, saying federal law prohibited it.

Snyder had asked the federal government to extend the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program to older children as part of the response to the Flint water crisis, with high levels of lead being found in residents' tap water.

A regional administrator told Snyder's administration Friday that barring a congressional change to the law, WIC is limited to children up to age 5.

Pediatricians have said that proper nutrition could be key in the long-term response to addressing the health of children exposed to lead. Flint is also one of the most impoverished cities in Michigan.

Snyder on Saturday urged the federal government to reconsider.

"I have strongly and continually stated that it is essential for all levels of government to work together to help Flint recover from this crisis, as it was all levels of government that failed Flint," he said. "While I understand WIC funding does not normally cover children over the age of 5, the improved health and developmental growth that will come from better nutrition for these kids necessitates a waiver of this rule."

Contact Todd Spangler at 703-854-8947 or at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @tsspangler.
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