Lead poisoning is a medical condition that occurs when there is a high level of heavy metal lead in a person’s body. The presence of a high level of lead in the body can harm various organs and body processes, such as the heart, intestines, kidneys and reproductive system. In addition, lead can retard the development of the nervous system, which can be especially harmful to children. Symptoms of lead poisoning can include abdominal pain, headaches, seizures, coma and even death. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 250,000 children in the United States, ranging from 1-5 years old, have a level of lead in their blood — high enough to constitute lead poisoning.
Sadly, that already too high number may drastically increase this year due to the current crisis in Flint, Michigan. In April of 2014, Michigan officials changed the city’s water source from the treated Detroit Water and Sewage Department Water from Lake Huron and the Detroit River, to the water from the Flint River. Officials chose not to chemically treat the water in the Flint River, which was reportedly highly corrosive. As time went on, the water began eroding the city’s pipes, thereby contaminating the water with lead and other foreign substances. In January of 2015, city officials declared a state of emergency due to how toxic the water was, but as many as 12,000 children may already have been reportedly exposed to toxic levels of lead.
Luke Waid is one of the first Flint residents to file a lawsuit against the city after his daughter showed symptoms of lead poisoning. Waid explains that his two-year-old daughter Sophia was bubbly and energetic in the past, but that over the last few months, she has become increasingly anxious and irritable. Upon hearing of the contaminated water, Waid had his daughter inspected by their family doctor. Blood-lead levels of 5 or greater are considered to be toxic: Sophia’s blood lead levels tested at 14.
Lead exposure in children younger than 6 can damage organs, cause slow development, lead to learning and behavioral problems, and more. According to freep.com, a Detroit-based law firm, McKeen & Associates, and two New York law firms, Napoli Shknolnik and Slater Slater Schulman, will represent the family in the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court. While Waid may be among the first to sue the city, he is certainly not expected to be the last, as the impacts of the lead poisoning are just now being uncovered and felt. As Waid’s attorney McKeen stated: “the long-term fallout in terms of the neurological cognitive impairment of the children in this community is one of the greatest potential damages, and that’s going to take years and years for this to fully evolve.”
If you or a family member have experienced lead poisoning, you may be able to bring a civil lawsuit against those responsible to recover money damages for medical expenses, as well as past and future pain and suffering. Please call our Massachusetts lead poisoning experts at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (617) 787-3700 to learn all about your legal options in a free and private consultation.