October 12, 2001 - Lead Paint Lawsuit to Proceed
A Maryland Court of Appeals judge yesterday refused to
reconsider the court's earlier ruling concerning a lead paint
study conducted a by Hopkins affiliate, the Kennedy Krieger
Institute. In the study, researchers recruited healthy children
and their families to live in Baltimore houses with "varying
amounts of lead contamination." The study was designed to
discern "cheaper ways" to reduce lead contamination so landlords
in poor neighborhoods "would not abandon their property." Two
women whose children participated in the study filed lawsuits, saying
that their children now suffer learning disabilities associated with lead
poisoning and that they were not warned about the "serious health risks"
the study posed. In August, the court of appeals ruled that the should proceed
and compared the study to the "infamous" 1940s Tuskegee, Ala.,
study in which researchers withheld treatment from black men
who had syphilis. In the ruling yesterday, Judge Dale Cathell,
who wrote the original opinion, "clarified" that parents can
consent to allow their children to participate in studies as long
as they do not expose the children to "anything more than minimal
health risks." The decision allows the lawsuits against Hopkins
and the Kennedy Krieger Institute to proceed.
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