Mayor Announces LeadFreeNYC Plan to End Childhood Lead Exposure

Mayor de Blasio and Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, the new interim NYCHA chair, recently released the city’s “Roadmap to Eliminating Childhood Lead Exposure,” following a 90-day review of all agencies’ policies related to lead prevention. The plan will screen every apartment for potential lead hazards, eliminate lead risks in NYCHA apartments and family shelters, target unsafe consumer goods, provide children with dedicated nurses, and link together all city agencies responding to lead exposure.

In 2004, the New York City Council enacted Local Law 1, which grants the city expansive powers to hold landlords accountable for addressing lead hazards and which helped achieve dramatic declines in childhood lead exposure in NYC. The report details how the city proposes to use the full power of the law to target bad actors and build on LL1 with bold steps, like lowering the lead-paint and dust standards to remove hazards with smaller amounts of lead than ever before, focusing on high-risk neighborhoods for enforcement and outreach, and aggressively increasing the city’s oversight of construction work that poses a risk of lead dust.

Under LeadFreeNYC, New York City will:

  • Reduce the amount of lead in paint and dust that triggers remediation and abatement to the lowest level of any major U.S. city;
  • Require annual inspections of apartments in one- and two-family homes previously excluded from the city’s lead paint regime;
  • Expand the use of stop-work orders from the Department of Buildings when the Health Department finds lead exposure risks during construction;
  • Ensure children are immediately provided with blood lead level testing in any home where housing inspectors identify a lead paint hazard;
  • Provide a dedicated nurse to any child with an elevated blood lead level to coordinate care;
  • Launch ad campaigns promoting testing for children in communities with low testing rates, to raise awareness about free water testing kits provided by the city, and promoting awareness of harmful consumer products containing lead;
  • Test all 135,000 NYCHA apartments where lead hasn’t been ruled out;
  • Proactively test and remediate all lead sources in shelters;
  • Establish a new Lead-Free Designation for homes where all lead has been eliminated;
  • Publish a Lead Products Index of consumer goods like spices and ceramics that contain lead, consolidating Health Department rules to protect retailers and consumers;
  • Expedite service line replacement beginning with low-income homes; and
  • Reduce lead exposure risks from the soil by offering free clean topsoil to community gardens and surveying NYCHA playgrounds to cover exposed soil when needed.

The city has also launched a new website to provide information and guidance for parents, tenants, and landlords. You can find the report and the new website by clicking here.