Historic Bills to Protect Children from Lead Poisoning
Over ten years ago, the Council took action to protect children from the risks of being exposed to lead. But a more recent Court of Appeals decision made it clear that more needs to be done. The Court ruled that a young girl who spent 50 hours a week at her grandmother’s apartment did not “reside” in the apartment. This absolved the landlord from any responsibility to abate the lead-based paint.
Intro. 464-B will resolve this issue with existing law by expanding the definition of the term “reside” to cover cases where children become exposed to lead while spending extended time with a temporary caretaker. The NYC Department of Health of Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) would be required to investigate the potential sources of elevated lead levels in children's blood, including inspecting any dwelling where a child with an elevated blood lead level spends 10 or more hours per week. This bill would also add to existing lead hazard remediation provisions for facilities providing day care services, requiring them to post notices describing any order to remediate a lead hazard, and to remediate such hazard within 21 days. Finally, this bill would hold building owners responsible to investigate and remediate lead hazards when a child spends 10 or more hours per week in one of their units.
“Our families should not have to endure the pain of having a child suffer lead poisoning,” said Council Member Dromm . “This bill fills a gap in the current code and, as a result, protects New York’s children from the myriad health risks associated with lead poisoning, including irreversibly impaired neurological development, behavioral disorders, and reduced educational attainment. I am grateful to NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and Housing and Buildings Committee Chair Robert Cornegy for their support of this important effort.”
The second bill, Intro. 881-A, addresses the distressing lack of public knowledge about lead paint hazards. This bill requires DOHMH to establish and implement an education and outreach program to increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning. This program would be linguistically and culturally tailored to immigrant communities, especially those who have limited English proficiency.
Dromm continued, “My bill ensures that our families will be educated on the negative impact lead can have on a child's health. Now fewer low-income and immigrant families will suffer the pain and hardship that results in having a child exposed to lead. I thank Speaker Johnson and Health Committee Chair Mark Levine for their continuous support of this legislation.”