Missouri health director pick defends record

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jefferson city

Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ pick to head the Department of Health and Senior Services says his controversial decision to reverse a toxic water warning in North Carolina was made in good faith.

Former North Carolina health director Randall Wiliams told Senators in a Wednesday hearing that he reversed a 2015 warning telling residents living near a coal plant not to drink the water after consulting with other health officials and scientists.

A North Carolina toxicologist had previously accused Williams of acting unethically in reversing the decision. Williams said Wednesday that he chose to remove the warning after he and other health officials determined the threshold for toxicity was too low.

Williams said certain chemicals found in the drinking water near the plant are found in similar quantities elsewhere.