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Prominent E. coli Attorney Calls For Increased Water Safety

Denis Stearns, a Seattle attorney, who since 1993 has represented hundreds of children stricken by the deadly E. coli O157:H7 bacteria, today called on Federal, State and Local officials to increase water safety in light of two recent E. coli outbreaks linked to water.

The two outbreaks, one in Washington State and one in Albany, New York, have sickened over 250 people. One three year old has died. “How can we – thirty years after the Safe Water Act – allow hundreds to be injured. The public has a right to be able to give their child a drink of water without the fear that it will kill them. There have been dozens of prior E. coli outbreaks involving drinking water and recreational water uses. There have been several studies. All point to the fact that this is a serious problem, but one that easily can be corrected,” argued Mr. Stearns. Articles of interest include:

Surveillance for Waterborne-Disease Outbreaks – United States 1995-1996, December 11, 1998. Published by the Center for Disease Control.Survival of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 in drinking water associated with a waterborne disease outbreak of hemorrhagic colitis, 1992. Published in Applied MicrobiologyA Waterborne Outbreak in Missouri of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 Associated with Bloody Diarrhea and Death, November 15, 1992. Published in Annals of Internal Medicine.Wyoming Epidemiology Bulletin, April – June 1995. Published by the State of Wyoming Department of Public Health.Survey of Water Utility Disinfection Practices, September 1992. Published in Research and Technology.

Denis Stearns and his partners, William Marler and Bruce Clark have handled cases of E. coli, and Salmonella with respect to hundreds of children, including HUS victims, in dozens of States. Cases handled, and in litigation, include E. coli outbreak and isolated cases against Jack in the Box, Odwalla, Hardee’s, White Water water park, McDonalds, Bauer Meat, Northern States Beef and a school district that undercooked hamburger in a school lunch; and, Salmonella cases against Sun Orchard and Malt O Meal. Mr. Marler, Bruce Clark and Denis Stearns speak frequently on a variety of food safety issues.

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