NYC Offers Free Blood Tests for Lead to Kids in Recently Painted Public Housing Units

What to Know

  • New York City is offering free lead tests to kids who live in public housing units that were repainted in the last year
  • Officials revealed that the painters hadn't been properly trained to protect kids from lead paint
  • A recent report found NYCHA hasn't been doing required lead inspections at its units for years, dating back to Bloomberg administration

City officials announced Saturday that children living in recently painted public housing units will be eligible for free lead tests after discovering that workers weren't properly trained on lead abatement. 

Children who lived in New York City Housing Authority apartments that were repainted after a 2016 lead inspection would be offered the free lead tests, said Olivia Lapeyrolerie, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

The tests are now being offered "out of an abundance of caution," she said. 

The news that lead hazard abatement last year may not have been properly completed in more than 2,200 apartments with young children comes on top of recent revelations that NYCHA had failed to perform mandatory annual inspections for more than four years. The latest findings cast additional doubt on de Blasio’s recent assurances that the city had taken swift action after learning in 2016 that it was out of compliance and that no children had been harmed. Some

Lead experts and lawyers suing the city on behalf of lead poisoned children mayors ability to declare no harm to children since many children in those homes would not have been routinely tested for lead exposures.

She said that NYCHA began new training for workers and vendors in August for the second round of inspections to be completed next week that would bring the city into compliance with local law.

The vendor was identified as ATC Group Services.

The development comes after NYC officials revealed they had failed to perform mandated annual inspections between 2012 and 2016 and filed false paperwork with the federal government.

The I-Team reported that NYCHA is currently attempting to get into compliance with Local Law 1 by quickly inspecting more than 4,200 units with young children in the last ten weeks of 2017.

On Friday, the city was ordered by the court to allow independent experts to be present as NYCHA inspects thousands of public housing units for lead paint hazard.

De Blasio says this is the second round of inspections for apartments presumed to contain lead paint, and in which children under age 6 live.

The first round of inspections began in the summer of 2016, according to top housing officials who claimed that’s when they learned they had failed to inspect for several years. And it appears the majority of apartments inspected last year displayed possible hazards. A NYCHA spokeswoman says of 4,232 units visually inspected, peeling or chipping paint were found in more than half.

In 2016 alone, 2,363 of those units were repainted. But peeling and chipping paint is visible on the walls of Kyan Dickerson’s apartment in the Red Hook East houses.

In court Thursday, city lawyers argued that Dickerson's apartment underwent a complete lead remediation before his family moved in.

Kyan’s mother, Sherron Paige says NYCHA eventually sealed up a pizza-box sized hole in their wall, but did not repaint, nor otherwise abate the lead hazard in their home. Kyan was diagnosed in July with dangerously high lead levels in his blood.

His mother says he has suffered developmental delays as a result of his exposure. As the I-Team reported, housing officials initially denied the presence of lead in Kyan’s apartment, despite findings to the contrary by the NYC Health Department.

NYCHA declined to comment on why Kyan’s apartment has still not been painted, citing the ongoing litigation.

Housing officials insist they have qualified inspectors from an outside vendor performing the inspections, but they also declined to name the vendor.

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