The Flint water tower near the Flint Water Plant in Flint on Jan. 13, 2021.

Dispute over Flint bone scan device heats up in water cases


Flint — Lawyers are defending the use of a handheld device to check for lead in Flint residents, despite the manufacturer’s warning that it wasn’t designed for that work.

The bone scan device has been a source of controversy in a $641 million settlement with people who were exposed to lead-contaminated water in Flint.

Some doctors believe the device is risky, especially for children. Meanwhile, lawyers without access to one have complained that their clients could lose out on higher compensation without bone scan results.

The maker, Thermo Fisher Scientific, said in a May 12 letter that the device wasn’t designed to measure bone lead levels in people, though the company has supported research on a “limited number of occasions” with universities. The company’s website says the device typically is for mining and exploration.



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