A Philadelphia woman filed a lawsuit seeking to have the city replace all lead service pipes running into homes from water mains and pay for a lead medical monitoring program.
The lawsuit, filed on June 2 by Eleni Delopoulos, alleged the city put her family and thousands of Philadelphians at a significantly greater risk for lead poisoning, Philly.com reported.
The city has been aware of high lead levels in tap water for years and didn’t warn residents, according to the lawsuit. It also accuses the city of rigging water test results to produce “a woefully inaccurate picture” of lead contamination.
A spokesman for Mayor Jim Kenney said the city was aware of the litigation but has no comment.
City water officials have said homeowners are responsible for service lines that run into their homes. The city’s 3,000-mile water distribution system doesn’t have any lead and treated drinking water is virtually lead-free, water officials say. But lead service lines were commonly installed until 1950 and those pipes can still dissolve lead into drinking water.
Delopoulos, 37, a Shakespearean actress, recently moved to west Philadelphia from New York and contacted a law firm after the city dug up the street in front of her home to replace the water mains. Her toddler was playing in a pile of dirt when a city worker warned her that the soil was contaminated with lead, said Elizabeth Fegan, an attorney for Delopoulos.
Lead poisoning has been shown to affect IQ, the ability to pay attention and academic achievement. It can also damage brains, kidneys and red blood cell production. Young children and pregnant women are considered the most vulnerable.
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