NYC announces new measures to reduce lead exposure risk in NYCHA homes

NEW YORK — City officials announced new measures to reduce the lead exposure risk for children living in public housing.

Lead is a huge point of concern for parents living in New York City Housing Authority Developments. Ashley Escaler, a mom in the Fort Independence Houses, worries about how the lead paint levels could affect the health of her 3-year-old son.

“I think it’s a good idea to do a lot of lead paint testing,” Escalera said PIX11.

The Bronx NYCHA resident was happy to hear that the de Blasio Administration is announcing new measures to reduce the risk of lead exposure for children weeks after NYCHA admitted to misleading the public and the federal government for years about the number of children with dangerously high lead levels in their apartments.

“It’s good that they are finally doing something about the problem,” Gabriel Alicia, another Fort Independence Houses resident,  said.

PIX11’s Monica Morales has been reporting on the lead level problems inside NYCHA housing and the under-reporting of the number of children affected by this health problem. She also interviewed  Bronx mother Tiesha Jones who lived at Fort Independence houses and was awarded $57 million after a jury found NYCHA responsible for elevated levels of lead in her daughter's blood.

Her daughter, now 12, has developmental delays and is in special education classes.

“You have to keep calling and complaining,” Jones told PIX11 in January. “And keep the ticket numbers.”

The city will now begin what they call Environmental Investigations for all children younger than 18 who test above the blood level of 5 micrograms per deciliter.

If lead paint is detected during the investigation, an abatement order will be issued by the Department of Health and the building's owner will be told to remove hazardous materials.

“Cheap paint and they don’t make repairs or they do it as quickly as possible,” Jose Suarez, a longtime resident of Fort Independence Houses, said. “It’s good they are doing more measurements on that.”