NYC Public Housing Count of Positive Lead Test Continues To Grow
Lead poisoning can have very serious health implications and can even lead to death. Even small amounts can cause health problems. Children under age 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning.
Because lead poisoning is so dangerous, it is problematic that the New York City Health Department failed to test the children living in public housing for 5 consecutive years and then downplayed the number who did test positive.
More Than 1,100 Children Tested Positive for Lead Poisoning in New York City Public Housing
The New York City Housing Authority recently admitted that 1,160 children living in public housing have tested positive for lead poisoning since 2012.
City Hall has issued various disclosures about the size of the lead crisis that have been incomplete and, in some cases, inaccurate. Incredibly, since 2013 the Housing Authority has failed to conduct the required lead inspections in its 176,000 apartments. The Health Department has revised the number of positive lead poisoning cases, beginning with 19 and then increasing to 820. The final tally is almost twice that figure.
One reason for the discrepancy is the threshold level of lead in the blood. Previously, the city used the threshold of 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood rather than the long-standing federal level of 5 micrograms per deciliter.
Critics of the city are skeptical that every case has yet been revealed, and believe that the ever-changing lead exposure numbers undermine the credibility of the Health Department.
The city’s response to the unexpectedly high numbers will be to inspect every public housing apartment where there may be lead paint beginning in January – about 130,000 units.
Lead Exposure Can Have Serious Long-Term Complications
Even low levels of lead poisoning can cause damage, especially to children. Irreversible brain damage may occur which can stunt their intellectual growth and harm their immune, cardiovascular and hormone systems.
Adults can be harmed too. Higher levels of lead in the blood can damage the nervous system and kidneys of all victims. Seizures and unconsciousness may result in children and adults from very high blood levels.
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