City Council Conducts Hearing on Lead Poisoning Prevention Laws
According to City Council stats, there were 111,509 lead paint violations in the city between January 2018 and March 2023. As of March 2023, 45 percent of all lead-related court cases are concentrated in the Bronx. Brooklyn ranked second for cases. The City Council recently held an oversight hearing in which five lead poisoning-related bills were reviewed and two new bills were introduced.
The City Council hearing came as the mayor’s office announced the appointment of a new lead czar. Mayor Adams named Jasmine Blake as Citywide Lead Compliance Officer, a role once held by his former rival in the 2021 mayoral election, Kathryn Garcia. In this role, she will coordinate compliance with local lead laws and reporting across a wide number of city agencies. She will also continue to serve as chief of staff in the office of the Chief Housing Officer, which sets the Adams administration’s housing strategy and oversees NYCHA, HPD, New York City Housing Development Corporation, the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants, and the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations.
The following are the bills related to lead poisoning prevention discussed at the recent oversight hearing. The package included legislation that mandates the removal of lead-based paint on friction surfaces near children and in common areas, thorough records of investigations and objections, more identification and inspection, assessment of kids with elevated blood lead levels, and declaring lead hazards as a public nuisance.
- Int. No. 5, Lead-based paint investigation records. This bill would require a property owner to produce records of self-inspections conducted by the owner, and records of any measures taken to abate lead-based paint hazards, whenever a violation for lead-based paint hazards has been issued by the city.
- Int. No. 6, Lead-based paint on friction surfaces in child-occupied dwellings. This bill would require the lead-based paint abatement activities currently required upon turnover, including the removal of lead-based paint on friction surfaces and on doors and windows, to be completed in all applicable dwelling units where a child under the age of 6 resides, by July 1, 2023.
- Int. No. 193, Lead-based paint hazards in common areas of dwellings. This bill would make the existence of peeling lead-based paint in any common area of a multiple dwelling where a child under the age of 6 resides a class C hazardous violation. The legislation would also include common areas as part of the current inspections for lead-based paint hazards in dwellings required under the city’s lead laws.
- Int. No. 200, Quarterly reporting on objections to orders for the abatement or remediation of lead conditions. The proposed bill would require DOHMH to submit to the Mayor and the Speaker of the Council, and make publicly available on DOHMH’s website, a quarterly report of the number of objections filed by multiple dwelling owners to DOHMH lead abatement orders. The report would be required to include the number of objections filed by NYCHA and to specify the reasons why any objections are found to have merit, including faulty testing or paint sampling, or an exemption based on the dwelling’s construction date.
- Int. No. 750, Proactive identification and inspection of dwellings where children are at risk of lead poisoning. This bill would create a proactive inspection program where HPD and DOHMH would identify at least 200 residential buildings each year that may pose a risk of lead exposure to children who reside in such buildings. Inspectors would then inspect such buildings for any lead-based paint hazards and proceed to order that any such hazards be abated.
- Preconsidered Bill, HPD public nuisance declaration in connection with lead hazards. This bill would require HPD to declare a lead hazard a public nuisance where DOHMH issues a commissioner’s order to correct or remediate a condition related to lead hazards.
- Preconsidered Bill, Assessment of certain children with elevated blood lead levels. This bill would require DOHMH to provide a referral for any child determined to have elevated blood lead levels to the Committee on Special Education of the Department of Education for a neuropsychological or neurodevelopmental evaluation in order to determine the child’s eligibility for special education services, including the development of an individualized education program.