A coalition of Lower Manhattan tenants and activists marched in the East Village to demand a city crackdown on landlords who ignore fixing apartment buildings with toxic lead dust from shoddy construction. According to a report on Patch.com, the Lead Dust Free New York City coalition is made up of community organizers and local tenants associations.
Shoddy Construction and Gentrification
During the march through the Lower East Side and the East Village, the group visited privately-owned properties where residents have struggled with lead dust contamination and lead poisoning issues as a result of negligent construction. The failure to address and correct the contamination issues by landlords is viewed as a means to push out rent-regulated residents and to gentrify the neighborhoods. Organizers say lead dust contamination is an entirely preventable issue, but since these neighborhoods attract more affluent residents the owners adopt such tactics in an effort to displace existing tenants.
Tenants in these types of privately-owned buildings are often exposed to dust contaminated with lead when landlords cut corners and renovate buildings without adhering to city safety regulations. The New York City Council is currently in the process of revamping the city’s lead laws, the biggest overhaul since 2004, with the introduction of 23 bills that seek to eliminate the scourge of lead poisoning across the city.
The bills cover homes, schools, parks and drinking water, and aim to amend testing and enforcement rules to give the city more enforcement power and lower the threshold for what constitutes unhealthy lead levels. While adults who suffer from lead poisoning are at risk for health issues such as increased blood pressure, decreased kidney function and reproductive issues, children under 6 are particularly susceptible to a range of health complications from developmental, behavioral and learning problems to anemia and brain damage.
Lack of Proper Enforcement
There have been laws on the books to ensure health and safety measures are taken to safeguard tenants, but advocates say the problem is with enforcement. Bad-acting landlords have become a serious problem in the city, health advocates say. In one recent case in the Lower East Side, a contractor fell through a tenant’s ceiling because of the structure’s dilapidated condition. In another case, tenants at an apartment building on East Fifth Street endured shoddy construction that kicked up lead dust in 2016.
When outraged tenants approached the supervisor he reportedly claimed the building did not contain lead. But when the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducted tests, it found lead concentration 16 times the federally accepted figure of 40 micrograms per square foot. An East Village resident told Patch.com that her 16-year-old son endured several symptoms as the unit beside her apartment was renovated and they awaited city inspection. This resident and others have had to file lawsuits against the private owners to rectify the dangerous conditions.
Lead Poisoning in the Projects
The presence of excess lead in the projects was highlighted after a large-scale federal investigation revealed fraud and negligence on the part of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), which operates a number of apartment buildings across city that house millions. So far, more than 1,000 children living in these buildings have displayed lead poisoning symptoms and the numbers are climbing.
Whether you live in privately owned buildings or the projects, as a tenant, you have the right to live in safe and healthy environment. If you live in public or private housing, and your child has been diagnosed with high blood lead levels, then you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the NYCHA or private landlords for damages. You may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, cost of diagnostic tests, permanent injuries, lost income, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. A knowledgeable New York City lead poisoning lawyer will be able to help you file the lawsuit and compile the evidence that is required to hold the agency accountable for its negligence.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If your child has been affected by lead poisoning, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
Our firm recovered $1,162,500 for a child who suffered lead poisoning from paint in her apartment. The child’s injuries were subtle and difficult to recognize. We recovered $162,500 above the $1 million dollar total insurance policy in this case. Despite the judge’s efforts to settle the case for $950,000, we fought hard and recovered $162,500 more than the insurance full policy of one million dollars.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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