The Real Deal New York

Study finds chemical-infested air in Brownsville NYCHA apartments

Saratoga Village sits next to contaminated site
September 10, 2018 12:30PM

Saratoga Village at 33 Saratoga Avenue in Brooklyn with a biohazard symbol (Credit: Google Maps and Wikipedia)

Mere weeks after news broke that 1,100 children in NYCHA developments were poisoned by lead in recent years, the housing agency is facing new questions over toxic apartments.

Sensors installed by clean energy startup BlocPower found elevated levels of chemicals in the air in five apartments at 33 Saratoga Avenue, a 125-unit building in the Saratoga Village development in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

It’s unclear what exactly the chemicals are or where they came from. A lot next to the building was previously found to be contaminated with petroleum and dry-cleaning runoff, the New York Daily News reported.

“Why is it that families within NYCHA constantly have to bear the health burdens of mismanagement and neglect?” Brooklyn Council member Alicka Ampry-Samuel told the Daily News. “Is it because families in NYCHA are people of color, and most from low economic backgrounds?”

BlocPower shared its findings, which were based testing between July and early September, with NYCHA. It found 1000 to 2000 parts per billion of chemicals in the five randomly selected apartments. The threshold considered safe by the federal government is 200 parts.

A Department of Investigation report last year found NYCHA had falsified reports about lead paint inspections. The agency’s chair Shola Olatoye stepped down in April[NYDN] — Konrad Putzier