Comptroller Finds Systemic Failure to Protect Children from Lead Exposure

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer recently released results of an investigation revealing the city’s systemic failure to protect children from toxic lead. According to the Comptroller, the city failed to use its own data to perform lead inspections in buildings most likely to pose threats to children – never inspecting 9,671 buildings with documented cases of child lead exposure.

According to the data, 35 percent of buildings connected with cases of three or more children with lead exposure were never inspected for lead by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Additionally, the data reveals that 22,000 children, or 20 percent of all children under the age of 3, who should have been tested for lead poisoning were not tested.

In response to the investigation’s findings, the Comptroller called for an across-the-board overhaul of lead exposure mitigation and enforcement, calling on the city to:

  • Proactively inspect all 9,671 buildings that the investigation found to be associated with one or more instances of childhood lead exposure and went uninspected, and do more going forward to coordinate agency responses to identify and remedy lead paint hotspots before more children are put at risk.
  • Commit to fully funding the administration’s LeadFreeNYC plan and equip agencies with the resources they need to fulfill the city’s goal of eliminating lead exposure. Currently, LeadFreeNYC has been allocated only $9 million toward its own estimated cost of $25 million.
  • Direct HPD to fully use the powers assigned to the agency by Local Law 1 and to start by issuing violations and fines to landlords who have failed to do their part to remediate lead paint.
  • Ensure every child is tested for lead exposure, as required by law.