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State urges residents of Benton Harbor to use only bottled water for drinking and cooking

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The state wants residents of Benton Harbor to use bottled water for drinking and cooking now.

The recommendation is a significant change in the state's response to elevated levels of lead in Benton Harbor's drinking water.

This is the first time the state has urged residents to avoid consuming tap water, even though lead levels have been high since 2018.

The recommendation comes out of quote "an abundance of caution," according to Michigan's health department.

Free bottled water is available to city residents. A state official says that will continue for as long as needed.