A proposed class-action lawsuit claiming the Newark School District, and other city as well as state officials “poisoned” thousands of students by knowingly exposing them to toxic levels of lead, has been filed by parents of four Newark Public Schools. The time period in question is March 2011 to the present, and the complaint alleges that high lead levels have caused gastrointestinal and cognitive health problems, reports Business Insider.
The Department of Environmental Protocols revealed testing results that became public in March 2016. The complaint also alleges the district made a conscious decision to conceal the elevated lead levels present in the Newark Schools water supply, naming New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and School Superintendent Chris Cerf in their complaint.
There are allegations that defendants “haphazardly and secretively installed filters” into some water sources to fight the problem, but the district did not provide adequate maintenance, according to Business Insider.
The suit claims, “The Defendants intentionally failed to change the filters for years despite the requirement that these filters be changed every six months.” Some filters were left unchanged for “more than five years after they expired,” the complaint read citing the district.
Additionally, the suit claims that while bottled water was used by others, leaving students to consume lead-infused water on a daily basis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no level of lead in the blood is considered safe. Exposure to elevated lead levels can cause vast serious health issues, especially in children and pregnant women, Business Insider reports.
New Jersey now joins Flint, Michigan, and Sebring, Ohio, as cities in the middle of the lead crises.
According to the suit, some who drank the allegedly lead-laced water, experienced “life threatening and irreversible bodily injury.”