FLINT, Mich., Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Friday launched an investigation into a water crisis in Flint, where residents have been exposed to contaminants.
The investigation will determine if any state laws were violated in the wake of numerous complaints of lead exposure.
"In 21st century America, no one should have to fear something as basic as turning on the kitchen faucet," Schuette said. "I look forward to working with federal, state and local officials, community leaders and Flint residents as we seek answers regarding state law and hope through the process we can help restore some of the trust in our government while helping families move forward."
On Thursday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder asked President Barack Obama to put the state under a federal state of emergency and requested help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The governor also activated the National Guard late Tuesday to assist local volunteers in distributing clean water at five sites throughout the city.
Federal investigators are already studying the situation which began in April 2014 when the city, with a population of 99,000, switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The new supply, which has a higher salt content, corroded municipal pipes and led to lead in the water system.
An excess of lead in the body can lead to mental and physical problems, and health officials are tracking nearly 10,000 residents under the age of 6 to see if problems occur.
Health officials are also investigating if the deaths of seven residents of Legionnaires' disease can be traced to the lead problem.