The State of Michigan Reaches Settlement With Flint Residents for $600 Million For Lead Contamination in Water Supply

Traumatic brain injuries are more commonly discussed brain injuries. They occur when a hit or jolt on the head cause damage to a person’s brain. Non-traumatic brain injuries can also occur and cause severe brain damage. With a non-traumatic brain injury, the damage to brain is caused by internal issues such as deprivation of oxygen or nutrient to brain cells or exposure to toxins.

Lead poisoning may be classified as a non-traumatic brain injury. Heavy metals, such as lead, can enter the body is several ways. People can breathe them in, eat them, and absorb them through their skin. It is found environment, certain foods, medications, and in water. Lead in the body can health problems and can lead to kidney and brain damage as well as death.

In children exposure to lead is high concern because their bodies are still developing. Lead can significantly affect the ability to develop and function at a normal rate. The effects of lead poisoning who children include:

  • Poor fine motor skills
  • Lack of verbal reasoning
  • Inability to regulate emotions
  • Hyperactivity
  • Mental delay or disability

Between April 2014 and July 2016 residents of Flint, Michigan were exposed to contaminated water after the city switched its water source in April 2014. The change was a money-saving measure; however, the water was not treated with anti-corrosive additives. This resulted in the water supply scraping lead from aging pipes and fixtures and contaminating the tap water. Soon after the switch, residents began to complain about the smell, taste, and appearance of the water. Reports of health concerns and problems began to arise.

In the summer of 2015, research tested samples of the Flint water and found that they had abnormally high levels of lead. Following the test results, a group of doctors announced that local children had high levels of lead in their blood. Many Flint residents used bottled water for more than a year as their sources of drinking and household water.

In November 2015, Flint residents filed a federal class-action lawsuit against several defendants including the State of Michigan, the Governor of Michigan, and the city of Flint. The defendants reached a settlement agreement for $600 million to be paid to the residents. A majority the settlement will be distributed to children. Of the 80% earmarked for children, nearly 65% will go to children who were 6 years old or young when they were exposed to the contaminate water.

Under the Florida Safe Drinking Water Act, Florida declares that citizens of Florida are assured the availability of safe drinking water at all times through the state. State law sets forth drinking water standards including the monitoring and testing the water, preventive on certain additives to the water supply, and procedures if there are contaminants in the water. Penalties may be imposed for violation of the Act, including fines for each daily of violation or noncompliance or injunctive relief to prevent violations.