New York

New York City Council considers new lead paint law as thousands of children exhibit unsafe lead levels each year

new york ――Nearly 20 years ago, new york city Passed comprehensive legislation and set out the goal of eradicating childhood lead poisoning here by 2010.

Thousands of children in New York City still exhibit dangerous lead levels annually, city ​​council We are considering a new legal package. Some advocates and parents have told CBS2 investigator Tim McNicholas that the current law is insufficient.

When 9-year-old Carter Nunez smiles, his mother, Sakia Colon, cherishes the moment. She has seen his suffering from suffering from lead poisoning, in addition to his autism and language difficulties.

“I think it’s possible that Carter has stepped back in some way, because Carter used to give me words.There was a time when he was giving me at least 50 words,” Colon said. rice field.

In 2019, after Carter’s blood test showed high lead levels for the first time, city tests found peeling paint containing lead in Carter’s apartment in the Kingsbridge Heights neighborhood of the Bronx.

Children can suffer brain damage and developmental disabilities from ingesting lead-containing paint flakes and dust.

The landlord said it took immediate action to resolve the issue.

But last spring, after Carter’s blood test showed an even higher level, about 15 times the average for a child, the city detected dangerous amounts of lead in his apartment again.

“It must be heartbreaking for you,” McNicholas said.

“It’s very heartbreaking because sometimes you feel like you’re to blame even though you know I didn’t put the lead here because I’m here, Because you can’t get out of here,” Colon said. .

The building’s owner says it was repaired quickly the second time around, but Cologne today wonders if the flaking paint and dust that quickly accumulates on the windowsills are really lead-free.

“I’m doing everything I can. I’ve been to court,” she said.

Colon isn’t the only one suffering in the neighborhood. In District 14, the city has taken landlords to court for lead violations more often than anywhere else in the city, more than 560 times since 2006.

“There are still loopholes that allow the lead hazard to persist,” said 14th District Councilor Pierina Sánchez.

Mr. Sánchez supports a bill that would require landlords with lead violations to show records to prove they’ve tested for lead hazards in the past and made efforts to remediate them.

“We’ve seen a dramatic decline in prevalence, but now it’s one of the diseases that affects blacks, Latinos, Asians, and people from low-income communities.” she says.

Since 2004, landlords of older buildings have been required to annually inspect and document lead hazards in apartments with children under the age of 6, and to remove lead from surfaces such as door frames and window frames before new tenants move in. It is obligatory to remove the paint. of.

It wasn’t until 2019 that the city began regularly accusing landlords of violating these two rules.

Coron and attorney Ruben Frankel are suing both the current and former owners of the Coron building, saying under city law the problem should have been discovered and fixed years ago. ing.

“We keep passing laws, but we don’t follow up or follow through. The laws are great. We have to enforce them,” Frankel said.

The city has stepped up enforcement of these two requirements in recent years, but some parents say they’re still not aggressive enough.

For example, a 2020 law requires owners of older buildings to arrange a specific type of inspection that can detect lead in multiple layers of paint. The law gives most landlords a deadline of 2025, but mandates inspections within a year if children under the age of six live in the home.

So far, the city has committed only 21 violations against landlords who have not undergone this inspection.

“They have to do better. I think they should do a better job of enforcing whatever legislation is in place,” Colón said.

The city’s Department of Housing and Preservation and Development told CBS2 in an email that it had filed hundreds of thousands of violations for paint stripping even before 2019, and from 2004 to 2018, the government was responsible for fixing the hazards of lead-based paint. He said he spent more than $42 million on it.

The HPD ordered about a dozen violations for stripping paint on the building where Colón lived.

About a year before Carter was born, her landlord was BN Realty Associates when she moved in 2013.

And in 2016, Ved Parkash Parkash Management then purchased the building.

Parkash agreed to pay $60,000 in fines in 2021 after discovering more than 50 lead violations in several other city-owned buildings.

Neither Parkash nor BN Realty Associates will be available for interviews for this article.

Parkash Management sent CBS2 the following statement from a spokesperson:

“Because of the active litigation, Parkash Management is not at liberty to fully discuss these matters. , and Parkash have filed a civil lawsuit against Parkash Management.However, Parkash Management is entitled to:” The issue was raised by the Ministry of Health in 2019, and again in 2022. He said he took immediate action when it was brought to light and complied with all the city’s lead paint laws and regulations. Parkash is deeply committed to safety, health and wellbeing. This is evidenced by the company’s rapid response to these individual lead paint incidents.

“After receiving initial notice on January 25, 2019, Parkash hired a third-party lead reduction company and began the treatment process on January 29. Once work was completed on February 1, Parkash hired an independent inspector, performed the required dust wipe analysis and filed documents with the Ministry of Health, who in a letter dated February 19 confirmed that the January 25 violations had been terminated. was notified to Mr. Parkash.

“Parkash responded promptly to the May 9, 2022 notification and engaged the same third-party lead reduction company to conduct remedial work from May 19-24. We weren’t able to do the paperwork for the dusting analysis that was supposed to be done.” After the tenant inexplicably refused an independent inspector access to the apartment, Tennant allowed the inspector to enter for the first time last month, and the inspector will be released in April 2023. I submitted the documents to the health department on the 4th of the month. The May 9, 2022 breach is currently pending. ”

“If he had done things right the first time, I don’t think we would have been here again,” Colón said.

Colon and Carter are now waiting to hear from the city as to whether Parkash really fixed the problem.

Until then, Colon says, “No, I’m not sure it’s safe here.”

The city council is also considering several other bills, including tougher requirements for landlords to eliminate the hazards of lead paint in door and window frames.

Some landlords say they don’t want the renovation to create new hazards for their tenants, and have already been asked to show compliance records in some cases.

The Housing Conservation and Development Authority says they audit hundreds of buildings each year, but they also do audits in response to complaints, so the most important thing is to speak up.

You can also search for building addresses In the city’s open data portal Find out if there have been lead violations in the past. New York City Council considers new lead paint law as thousands of children exhibit unsafe lead levels each year

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