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Family of Flint toddler sues over tainted water

Posted: 5:23 PM, Feb 08, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-09 09:47:43-05

In her father's arms, Sophia Waid looks and acts like a typical toddler, antsy during a stiff hotel press conference. But Luke Waid says he's certain her recent irritability is tied to tainted lead water, the reason he's suing Gov. Snyder and the city of Flint in federal court.

“These guys don’t have a voice of their own. So I have to be their voice,” Waid said of his 2 1/2-year-old daughter and 5-month-old son.

The Flint father said lead levels in Sophia's blood work during her one-year check-up were alarmingly high. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, for children younger than six, a level of 5 micrograms per deciliter is considered higher than normal. Sophia's levels were a 14.

That was back in July 2014, merely months after Flint switched its water source from the Detroit system, which pumps water from Lake Huron, to the Flint River. It would be months still, until the Waids learned with the rest of the public, that improperly treated water caused lead to leach from old pipes.

“I think that we all have a right to rely upon our government to keep us safe and provide us with safe drinking water,” attorney Brian McKeen said.

McKeen and legal lead experts from New York filed the lawsuit Monday on behalf of the Waid family. McKeen says the Waids' story is no different than that of thousands of other Flint families, and that their lawsuit aims to hold state and local leaders accountable for the host of health concerns Sophia could face in the future

The complaint alleges the Waid family unknowingly used Flint tap water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and cleaning. It alleges that the lead-laced water caused a number of problems for Sophia, including an inability to sleep, excessive irritability, skin rashes, digestive problems, and chronic anxiety.

Already, the Waids say they're stretching their budget to keep Sophia on a vegetarian natural diet, as experts advise good nutrition can help mitigate the effects of lead exposure.

Attorneys said they expect to file more lawsuits for other Flint families who suffered negative effects from contaminated water.