The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) (the Projects) is falling behind carrying out its lead paint inspections, the New York Post reports. According to the Post, officials have inspected only 28,000 out of 137,000 apartments that they promised to check for the toxic substance, which poses a serious risk of lead poisoning, particularly for children 6 and younger. This is an average of 4,000 apartments each month, which is well short of NYCHA’s own goal of checking between 5,000 and 7,000 apartments every month.
NYCHA’s Serious Problems
Officials also acknowledged the costs of the lead checks that have skyrocketed from the initial $88 million to about $100 million. The estimated cost of removing lead in public housing units or “the Projects” is now at $3 billion. And this number may get even higher. Officials have reported that more than half of the 21,000 lead tests they have performed, have come back positive.
Advocates for the residents have expressed concern about this lack of progress given the serious health risks lead poses to young children. NYCHA has attributed the cost increases to efforts for accelerating the pace of testing. NYCHA is working with city and federal partners to complete the inspections in a timely manner, a spokesperson said. NYCHA has also been going through changes in leadership.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first NYCHA chairwoman, Shola Olatoye, resigned after the fallout from the lead scandal grew in 2018. More than 1,000 children were believed to have suffered lead poisoning in public housing units as a result of NYCHA’s failure to remove lead pain from these homes. This latest setback comes a year after de Blasio unveiled his NYCHA 2.0 plan, which hopes to pay for $24 billion in repairs and upgrades over 10 years. However, the city’s public housing complexes are struggling with a $38 billion maintenance backlog.
Lead Can Be Harmful to Children
The city’s lead-regulation code, Local Law 1, lays out a strict timetable for the department that requires landlords to repair or remove lead from dwellings within 123 days of its detection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that roughly 4 percent of children nationwide have lead poisoning. These rates are even higher in large cities such as New York and in low-income areas such as The Projects.
Lead poisoning is most commonly caused by exposure to lead-based paint, which has not been used in residential construction since 1978. However, older homes, especially those built prior to 1960, have this toxic paint in them. Lead is known to cause a number of health risks and problems including brain and kidney damage. In children, lead poisoning may result in irreversible brain damage, learning disabilities and behavioral issues.
Understanding Your Rights
If you have been living as a tenant at a private apartment complex or in a public housing unit (the Projects), please remember that you have legal rights. If your child has been diagnosed with high blood lead levels, regardless of whether you live in public or private housing, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the NYCHA (the Projects) or private landlords for damages. It is important that you get your children’s blood lead levels tested if you live in a housing development that is known to have lead paint.
Those who have been affected can 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).
NYC Lead Poisoning 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 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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