Lawsuit: Kennedy Krieger Institute Lead Paint Study Endangered Children

09/16/2011 // WPB, FL, USA // Injury Lawyers News // Nicole Howley

Baltimore, MD — A class action lawsuit accuses the Kennedy Krieger Institute of exposing poor black children to “dangerous levels” of lead during a housing experiment in the 1990s. The class action lawsuit was filed on Thursday, September 15, 2011, in Baltimore City Circuit Court over the hospital’s Lead-Based Paint Abatement and Repair and Maintenance Study that began in 1993, reported the Baltimore Sun.

“The hospital used these children as known guinea pigs in these contaminated houses to complete this study. For this study, KKI selected children and their parents who were predominantly from a lower economic strata and minorities,” court documents revealed.

Kennedy Krieger has denied all allegations against them and stated that the study actually placed families in homes that were less contaminated than the one they were previously living in.

The study in question was to help identify an affordable way to reduce the danger of lead-paint poisoning faced by children living in old homes. The study used over 100 families that resided in homes with varying levels of partial lead abatement to help discover if cheaper ways of containing lead would stop the toxin from getting into children’s bodies. As a result, the institute claims that the state’s lead paint laws benefited from the study’s findings; which led to a 93 percent drop in lead-paint poisoning in Baltimore.

“The lawyers have wrongly placed blame on our Institute. This research was conducted in the best interest of all of the children enrolled, and we are confident that this will come to light when the facts are presented,” said Krieger President and CEO Gary Goldstein.

At the time of the study, 95 percent of Baltimore’s low-income, high-risk neighborhoods were contaminated by lead paint, the Baltimore Sun reported.

In other lawsuits, which were heard by the Court of Appeals, it was decided that researchers failed to warn families that their children faced a health risk if they continued to live in the homes. In addition, it was also found that researchers did not inform the families of the children’s elevated blood-lead levels in a timely manner.

The hospital asserts that the children involved in the study showed their blood lead levels stayed the same or deceased. But, in some cases, the children’s lead levels did increase.

The lawsuit has accused the institute of negligence, fraud, battery and violating the state’s consumer protection act, which seeks damages, interest and unspecified attorney fees.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Maryland toxic tort lawyers.

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