More than 1,000 children in public housing have had high levels of lead since 2012

Citywide, the number dropped to a record low of about 5K

NYCHA's Grant Houses
NYCHA's Grant Houses

A total of 1,160 children in New York’s public housing developments suffered from high lead levels since 2012, city officials said Thursday.

The city had progressed in lowering the number of children in NYCHA developments testing positive for lead for more than 10 years, but the trend stopped around the same time that the agency stopped inspecting apartments for lead paint, according to the New York Times. However, the number of kids throughout the city with elevated blood lead levels has dropped to 5,300, a record low.

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Between 2015 and 2017, roughly 130 children in public housing younger than six tested positive for lead each year. This roughly aligns with the time period when NYCHA stopped inspecting units for lead paint, but the city said it could not say whether stopping the inspections had caused steady rates of lead poisoning because the sample size is not large enough.

The city came to a legal agreement with federal prosecutors in June to appoint a federal monitor who would supervise reforms at NYCHA.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the city will broaden its lead-testing efforts and inspect each apartment in public housing that might have used lead paint. This equates to roughly 130,000 apartments at a cost of $80 million. Testing should start early next year. [NYT] – Eddie Small