Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) (The Projects) new lead-based paint testing program on Monday, April 15. According to a WABC news report, for the first time ever, 135,000 apartments will be tested with portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers. City officials say that this massive testing effort and the analyzers will determine whether lead paint is present and help reduce the lead poisoning hazard that is often found in these apartment units. The analyzers being used are also reportedly capable of measuring contamination more effectively and beyond what is required by local and federal laws.
First Round of Testing Begins
The 135,000 units that will be tested were built before 1978 – the year when lead paint was banned at the federal level. This round of testing is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. Mayor De Blasio said the city has “driven down the number of children exposed to lead by 90 percent” and will complete that mission. This is the first time ever, he said, that the city will go into 135,000 NYCHA apartments to eradicate the lead exposure. He said the goal of this aggressive new testing plan is to help make New York “the healthiest and fairest big city in America.”
NYCHA will prioritize developments with the highest populations of children under the age of 7, which is the age recognized in the city’s law requiring landlords to carry out regular lead-based paint visual adjustments. Testing began at the Harlem River Houses in Harlem on Monday, April 15.
Lead paint testing on the seven other developments will begin May 1. The first group of developments that will be tested are Williamsburg Houses (Brooklyn), Harlem River Houses (Harlem), Bronx River Houses (the Bronx), Saint Nicholas Houses (Central Harlem), Johnson Houses (Manhattan), Red Hook West Houses (Brooklyn), Castle Hill Houses (the Bronx) and Marble Hill Houses (the Bronx). The other developments to be tested will be announced in the coming months. NYCHA has also said it will report its testing results online by May 1 and will update the information every two weeks.
How a Lead Paint X-Ray Machine Works
There are two types of XRF hand-held lead detection devices – those that use radioisotopes (radioactive isotopes) and those that use x-ray tubes. An x-ray analyzer typically has three major components: a source that generates x-rays (a radioisotope or an x-ray tube); a detector that converts x-rays emitted from the sample into measurable electronic signals; and a data processing unit that records the emission or fluorescence energy signals and calculates lead concentrations in the paint. Usually, these devices are placed on the painted surface. Results can be viewed within seconds.
While it is a relief that the city is finally going to be conducting lead paint testing at all these NYCHA properties, it is appalling that they had this technology available for many years to detect the presence of lead in paint within seconds, but did not use it. As a result, we now have more then 1,000 children in New York City in the projects who have been poisoned by lead and will likely suffer long-term consequences ranging from learning, developmental and behavioral issues to brain damage.
Understanding Your Rights
Whether you live in privately owned buildings or the Projects, as a tenant, you have the right to a 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 (the Projects) 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 and benefits, 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 (carelessness).
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 full insurance 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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