The father of a two-year-old girl has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the several State of Michigan and Flint officials after medical tests revealed that his daughter has been poisoned by extremely high levels of lead in Flint’s water supply.
Flint resident Luke Waid told the Detroit Free Press that his daughter Sophia recently went from being a bubbly, energetic child to constantly anxious and irritable. She also suffers from skin rashes, digestive problems, infections, inability to sleep, and excessive crying.
But as worrisome as the girl’s condition is now, Mr. Waid told the Detroit Free Press that he is worried about the effect that the lead poisoning will have on his daughter over the long-term.
Exposure to lead is particularly damaging to children who are still developing. Lead toxicity can damage organs, restrict brain development, lead to difficulty learning, promote emotional and behavioral problems, and more.
U.S. health officials consider lead levels in the blood of 5 or greater to be toxic. Blood tests showed Mr. Waid’s daughter to have a blood-lead level of 14. Now, as some of the classic signs of lead poisoning in young children become manifest in the girl, Mr. Waid is worried about what kind of future Sophia will have.
He is also angry at the officials who recklessly caused the disaster.
“These guys (his children) don’t have a voice of their own so I have to be their voice,” Mr. Waid told the Detroit Free Press. “I have to stand behind my children. If I didn’t feel so betrayed, I wouldn’t have brought it this far. They (state officials) could have told us, and we could have had a home filtration system set up so it wouldn’t have gotten this far.”
According to a lawyer involved in Flint water litigation, Sophia “is but one of literally thousands of Flint residents who’ve been affected. … They, like any parent, have suffered tremendous anguish knowing that their child has been poisoned and faces an uncertain medical and developmental future.”
Mr. Waid’s lawsuit is believed to be the first individual, non-class action brought against the city of Flint and state of Michigan. The federal lawsuit names as defendants several state and city officials, including Governor Rick Snyder, former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley, and former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling.
Flint’s residents were exposed to lead poisoning when the state and city officials started drawing Flint’s water from the highly polluted Flint River instead of its traditional source, Lake Huron, as a conservative money-saving measure. Those in charge of the switch neglected to run chemicals through the water system that would have shored them up against corrosion and may have prevented some of the problems that occurred.
As the toxic water ran through the Flint water system, it corroded the old pipes forming the city’s water infrastructure, allowing lead and other contaminants to leech into the tap water used by city residents.
There is no telling how many children have been irreversibly harmed by the careless decisions of state and city officials, but the magnitude of the crisis would be hard to overestimate.
“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,” a lawyer representing the Waid family told the Detroit Free Press.
Source: Detroit Free Press