A public elementary school in New York City is dealing with claims that elevated copper levels in drinking fountain water made a child sick. The boy went home with stomach pains after having ingested the water, which was discolored and foul tasting.
What makes this problem worse is that a few months earlier the same school had that fountain and four others test positive for elevated lead levels. Although all had been replaced, they were not supposed to be used until they could be cleared through remediation testing.
It is suspected that this round of contamination was caused by heavy metals that leach from old pipes when the water stands in them for too long. If this is true, then running the tap for fifteen to thirty seconds prior to drinking should help remove these impurities from otherwise well-regarded NYC drinking water. If the contamination was not from the pipes but from some other source underground, running the water would not solve the issue.
Copper in the Body
Body chemistry is a delicate balancing act with trace elements affecting brain and nervous system health. Copper has to have a certain ratio with zinc, for instance, for thyroid health, which controls cell energy. Too little copper can cause issues such as anemia, nerve damage, and a low white-blood-cell count, and too much copper results in “copper toxicity,” causing stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. More severe symptoms are brain disease, heart and kidney failure, liver failure, and death.
In the Staten Island school case, the levels were said to be elevated but not harmful. The school is taking this fountain out of commission until the problem is resolved. Still, parents have every right to be concerned and take proper precautions.
Some parents say they send their children to school with bottled water, while others trust that the administration is on top of the problem and will do the right thing. For the time being, school authorities say they will have janitors flush out the water system every morning to ensure stagnant pipe water does not have time to collect heavy metals dangerous to thirsty schoolkids.
Possibility Premises Liability Lawsuit
If it can be proven that the boy sustained harm directly from this incident and that the school should have been aware of the problem but failed to fix it, the family can pursue a premises liability case for financial compensation. A personal injury lawyer would look into all the evidence, including testing, state and local laws and standards, and the actions of the school to see if anyone was at fault in allowing the water fountain to be used when it represented a danger to the kids on the school grounds.
If it can be proven that the school failed to act when it should have, the victim’s family will be eligible for a financial settlement to cover their damages and pain and suffering.
Experienced NYC Premises Liability Attorneys
If you feel that you or a loved one has been hurt by something beyond your control due to a property owner’s carelessness or bad judgment, you may have grounds for a premises liability case. Contact Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP today to find out more about how we can go to bat for you.
Simply call us at 1-800-VICTIM2 (842-8462) or reach us by completing the form below. The consultation is free and carries no obligation. We are personal injury lawyers who work hard to protect New Yorkers from negligence. We use our years of experience to build the strongest cases for our clients to ensure that justice is served.