Nearly two thousand residents of Flint, Michigan filed a lawsuit against the United States government. According to several news outlets, including Reuters, the 1,700 plaintiffs seek $722 million in damages from the Environmental Protection Agency, claiming that its mismanagement of a water crisis exposed thousands of their children to lead poisoning.
The lead exposure took place when Flint switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River in April 2014, while under the supervision of a state-appointed emergency manager.
About a year later, tests detected high amounts of lead in blood samples taken from children residing in Flint, and in October 2015, the city reverted to its previous water system.
The 30-page lawsuit specifically cites the “major failure of all levels of government” to protect the health and safety of the public in the “environmental catastrophe”.
According to an article originally published in September 2015 by the Flint Water Study, conducted by an independent research team from Virginia Tech University, 40.1% of the first draw samples taken voluntarily from Flint homes (101 out of 251 water samples) are over 5 parts per billion (ppb).
The study also revealed that Flint’s 90th percentile lead value was 25 ppb, which well exceeds the 15 ppb that is allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency in high risk homes.
Several samples reportedly exceeded 100 ppb, and at least one sample collected exceeded 1000 ppb after less than one minute of flushing.