If Walls Could Talk: How Landlords Fail to Obey Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Laws in Bushwick
ABOUT THIS REPORT: Lead-based paint can poison young children. In children, lead can cause learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, decreased intelligence, nervous system and kidney damage, and other serious health problems that may be permanent.
According to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“DHMH”):
“Preventing exposure to lead is the only effective way to ensure that children do not suffer long-term consequences of lead poisoning. Prevention requires reducing the sources of lead in the environment and/or protecting children from exposure to those sources.”
In 2000, the federal government called for eliminating elevated blood lead levels in children (defined as blood lead levels of 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood ("μg/dL") or greater) by 2010, primarily through eliminating lead hazards in their homes; New York City has adopted this goal as well, and there is no doubt that much progress has been made in reducing childhood lead poisoning. According to the most recent publicly available data from DHMH, the number of children under age 6 newly identified with blood lead levels ≥10 μg/dL decreased by nearly an order of magnitude from 19,232 in 1995 to 1,947 in 2007. But since only 41% of children are tested for lead as required by law, the actual number of children with elevated blood lead levels is no doubt significantly higher, and as DHMH recognized in its most recent annual report, “lead poisoning remains a serious public health problem in NYC."
Two important laws should work in tandem to help reduce the possibility of children ingesting lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in residential rental properties in New York City. The first is the New York City Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act of 2003, commonly known as Local Law 1 of 2004, which obligates landlords and the City to prevent exposure to lead paint hazards in housing and day care facilities.
Make the Road New York! Latin American Integration Center and Make the Road by Walking celebrated the announcement of their merger at SEIU 32BJ's Auditorium on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 to a packed audience. Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, joined us to celebrate the event.