The allegations against a Baltimore, Maryland, non-profit institute that focused on research, treatment and education for children with disabilities since 1937 are shocking and hard to believe. The Kennedy Krieger Institute conducted a study in the 1990s on lead-based paint and its effect on children. Plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit now claim that the Institute knowingly allowed impoverished minority children to remain in homes with high levels of lead as part of its study. In addition, the Institute moved white and more affluent families with children into safer homes as part of its study, according to the complaint.
In a report at aboutlawsuits.com, the Institute left the minority children in the unsafe homes for the sole purpose of observing the paint’s effects on their health. The Institute, according to the plaintiffs, failed to inform the parents about the risks to their children’s health.
For its part, the Institute denies the allegations and points out the good brought about by their study. The study led to a 93 percent decline in lead poisoning cases in Baltimore, according to a spokesperson for the Institute.
The Institute has come under fire before over the lead paint study, with many claims settled out of court. A 2001 Maryland Court of Appeals decision noted that the Institute knew that families and children were living in homes with dangerous levels of lead paint and did nothing to warn them about it.
Exposure to lead can have serious health implications, including brain damage, mental retardation, seizures and death to young children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that about 250,000 children have blood levels with high amounts of lead.