The New York City Housing Authority will spend $88 million to inspect about 135,000 apartments for lead paint over a year and a half. According to a report on Patch.com, NYCHA says it has awarded a contract worth $88 million to seven companies that will begin to inspect the units in April as part of the city’s sweeping effort to prevent childhood lead poisoning. This effort is expected to provide NYCHA (The Projects) with a complete audit of the presence of lead paint in the city’s public housing units or the projects. The inspection will cover all NYCHA apartments where the presence of lead hasn’t been ruled out in prior testing.
The seven firms that have been hired for the job will inspect between 5,000 and 7,000 apartments a month, according to NYCHA, beginning at the Harlem River and Williamsburg Houses. These are the first two developments where NYCHA must abate (remove) lead paint under a deal it reached with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. After that work is completed, developments that have the most number of children under the age of 6 (when they are most at risk for lead poisoning), will take priority. The audit is expected to end by September 2020.
How Will the Inspections Be Done?
NYCHA officials say inspectors will use X-ray fluorescence technology to perform the inspections. These devices can take a reading of the paint and instantly determine the presence of lead. Officials said any chipped or broken paint that poses an immediate risk will be repaired. However, paint that is not chipping or peeling, won’t be disturbed because there’s no danger, they said.
These inspection efforts are part of the city agency’s latest response to concerns over lead poisoning that have plagued the projects for years. From 2010 through June 2018, more than 2,000 children living in public housing or the projects have been found with elevated levels of lead in their blood. NYCHA said it will also retain contractors who will help ensure that the tests are being conducted properly.
How Lead Affects Children
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. There are approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1 to 5 years with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter – the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.
Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in a child’s body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized until the later stages. Lead poisoning in children could result in diminished bone and muscle growth; poor muscle coordination; brain damage; damage to the kidneys and nervous system; developmental delays; and speech, language and/or hearing issues, etc.
Know 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, if you live in a privately owned building.
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).
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.
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