Environment and Energy, Features, Health and Safety, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, New York

City Expands Lead Inspections Following Comptrollers Investigation

November 10, 2019

By Stephanie West

New York, NY – In response to New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer’s lead investigation released in September, the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) have agreed to make critical reforms consistent with the NYC Comptroller’s recommendations. 

City agencies were not effectively inspecting residential buildings for lead paint and thousands of children were at risk.

“Fifteen years ago, New York City set a goal to eliminate childhood lead poisoning once and for all”, said NYC Comptroller Stringer.  “But our lead investigation found that a systemic breakdown in the City’s bureaucracy allowed thousands of children to fall through the cracks. City agencies were operating in silos – and one hand didn’t know what the other was doing. As a result, HPD did not perform a single inspection for lead paint in 9,671 buildings where it was known that one or more lead-exposed children resided. The City’s inaction left thousands of children at risk of being exposed to lead.

In September, following the lead investigation, Comptroller Stringer sent a letter to City Hall making clear the urgent need for the City to ensure children are safe from lead exposure in their own homes. Comptroller Stringer’s investigation revealed a clear failure by the City to leverage its own DOHMH data to identify lead hotspots and use that data to target inspections by HPD. 

“Previously, the City’s goal was to proactively inspect 200 buildings per year. Today, because of our investigation, the City has committed to proactively reaching out to thousand previously uninspected buildings identified in our investigation to help eliminate the scourge of lead poisoning as part of a far more robust inspection approach. I look forward to meeting with City agencies to ensure that each building identified in our analysis is inspected and all New York City families are protected, said Stringer.

Audits found that 2,749 children tested positive for lead exposure in buildings that went uninspected for lead paint

November 10, 2019

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