Doctors urge federal judge to stop testing for lead in Flint water crisis using 'industrial' scanners

Posted at 6:36 AM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 06:36:10-04

Serious health, legal and financial issues are being raised by two prominent doctors about how testing for lead in thousands of Flint residents is being done in the pending Flint water crisis settlement.

Ann Arbor Federal Judge Judith Levy has been asked to stop attorneys from using a hand-held scanner mostly used in industrial settings and not on humans. The testing is being done not in a clinic but in their law office in Flint Township.

A positive lead test could mean bigger payouts to people and their attorneys with $641 Million in the settlement.

“The client will get paid more if there’s something in the bone scan. We don’t know what that means. The attorney will get paid more because the client will get paid more,” Dr. Lawrence Reynolds, a Flint-area pediatrician tells FOX 17 sister station WXYZ-TV, who was among the early people to speak out about the water crisis.

Dr. Reynolds filed an objection to the testing with this device with Judge Levy in February.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the first voice to speak out about the Flint water crisis and the effect on kids calls the testing “maddening.”

Dr. Reynolds provided WXYZ-TV documentation that shows the scanners are used in industrial settings including testing for lead in toys and kids’ backpacks.

“Number one, it’s not for humans," Reynolds said. "Number two, until I filed my objection they did not register a radiation-emitting piece of equipment with the state. It may be no more than a dentist does when he x-rays kids. And that is true.”

The scans are being done by the law firm Napoli and Shkolnic based in New York but at their Flint area office set up for the water litigation. WXYZ-TV has reached out to them and other attorneys using these tests and have not heard back.

Other attorneys have been paying $500 a test to their clients tested with this scanner.

“I’ve taken care of children in the Flint area for 29 years," Dr. Lawrence said. "And if you want to see a pediatrician get worked up, just abuse children. And this is abuse."

It is not clear when Judge Levy will take up this issue.

Dr. Reynolds says he made a complaint about these tests to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. We have not heard back from the state on the status of that complaint.