Stronger rules against lead paint could be coming soon to NYC

Gothamist, Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky, July 15, 2023

New York City could soon have to perform more thorough lead paint inspections and report on landlords who try to contest their results.

On Thursday, the City Council passed a pair of bills intended to close gaps in the city’s existing lead poisoning prevention policy. Those measures now head to Mayor Eric Adams for his approval or veto.

Federal officials also announced this week that they’re proposing tighter standards for how much lead is considered hazardous in older buildings and child care facilities. The threshold for lead treatment would drop to anything above 0 micrograms of lead per square foot of space on high-touch surfaces like floors and window sills. The change could protect as many as half a million children per year nationwide, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement.

Experts and advocates praised the changes and called for more investment in the city’s health and housing departments to reflect their increased workloads.

“We’re applauding this,” said Lonnie Portis of the advocacy group WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “It’s an acknowledgement that there is no safe level of exposure to the dangerous toxin that is lead.”

Lead, a common ingredient in paint up until the late 1970s, is especially dangerous for children. Exposure can lead to irreversible brain damageand lifelong learning problems. Dust from deteriorating lead paint can collect on floors and window sills, where it can be easily ingested by crawling or curious children.

Read More: Gothamist