Dispute over Flint bone scan device heats up in water crisis lawsuits

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 3:00 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Lawyers are defending the use of a handheld device to check for lead in Flint residents, despite the manufacturer’s warning that it wasn’t designed for that work.

The bone scan device has been a source of controversy in a $641 million settlement with people who were exposed to lead-contaminated water in Flint.

Some doctors said the device is risky, especially for children. The maker, Thermo Fisher Scientific, says the device wasn’t designed to measure bone lead levels in people, though the company has supported research with universities.

Attorneys Paul Napoli and Corey Stern are defending the device. They filed affidavits from experts who say there’s no health risk. 

A federal judge granted preliminary approval to the $641 million settlement earlier this year and everyone who wants a share of the money was required to register in March. Once the judge formally approves the settlement this summer, people can begin applying for claims.

During the claims process, residents will be asked to submit their formal claims and basic evidence showing they were affected by the water crisis. The evidence can include any proof of residency in the city during the water crisis, attending school in Flint or consuming lead-tainted city water.

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