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19-year-old NYCHA resident shares her story after testing positive for lead

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NEW YORK -- Brenda Ambers is a mom on a mission to get justice for her two daughters who tested positive for high lead levels in 2004 while they were living in the Frederick Douglass Houses, a public housing complex located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Ambers' oldest daughter was 5 years old when she tested positive with a lead level of 13. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say no lead levels are considered safe and level 5 is considered toxic.

“It’s important for me to speak out, so everyone can hear our voice. We have a voice, too,” Ambers' daughter said.

Now a teenager, her daughter said she is living with the consequences of lead.

“I know what to do. I know what to say, but sometimes it’s hard to say it out loud,” the teen said.

According to city officials, as many as 820 children tested positive for elevated lead levels between 2012 and 2016.

The Ambers family lawyer, Corey Stern, is representing hundreds of other children living at NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA). Stern has represented thousands of children who have tested positive for lead in Flint, Mich.

Stern said there could be many more lead-poisoned children than are currently known.

“We should be up in arms and the fact the city isn’t, with this mayor, tells us as much about us than as it does about him,” Stern said.

On July 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio  and the NYC Health Department announced new measures to further reduce lead exposure.

“Lead poisoning is down almost 90 percent since 2005. But that’s not good enough," de Blasio said. "We’ve already made our testing protocols more strict for kids in public housing and we are now extending that standard to the entire City. It’s our job to always push the envelope when it comes to our kids’ health."

If you have a story about lead in public housing, upload a video to Monica Morales on Facebook by clicking here.

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