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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