Flint Family: Our 'Tragic' 2-Year-Old Is Poisoned

Sophia Rodriguez Waid's family sues Flint, Michigan
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2016 3:55 PM CST
Flint Family: Our 'Tragic' 2-Year-Old Is Poisoned
This Friday, Feb. 5, 2016 image from video shows 2-year-old Sophia Waid, daughter of Luke Waid, of Flint, Mich.   (AP Photo/Mike Householder)

A Flint, Michigan, family is suing the city and several government officials after their young daughter tested positive for lead poisoning, NBC News reports. The family of Sophia Rodriguez Waid, who's now 2, say they moved out and spent scarce funds on remodeling their house to avoid contaminated water—but Sophia's lead level only rose. "We changed our whole life. We remodeled out home and lived in hotels and with family for months," says her dad, Luke Waid. "They threatened us with child protective services if (her lead level) didn't go down." But they say her level rose to 14 mg/dl (well past the danger line of 5) until they moved in with the sister of Luke's fiancee and drank from the sister's well. Sophia's lead level then declined, they say.

But lead levels under 6 in children are known to curb development, harm organs, and cause behavioral and learning problems, the Detroit Free Press reports. "Even when these officials knew of a lead problem, they failed to act, thus resulting in an epidemic of lead poisoning," says Brian McKeen, one of the family's lawyers. "This child 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." This is the first such lawsuit filed amid the city's ongoing water crisis, the lawyers say. Local officials and a lawyer representing Michigan haven't responded to the suit, which does not specify damages. (Even Flint-area dogs are turning up toxic.)

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