Bronx News
Feb 12, 2018

BRONX NEWS: Health Department to study impact of NYCHA lead paint failures

The state Health Department will open an investigation into what impact NYCHA’s lead paint failures have had on public housing tenants in southern Queens.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker announced the inquiry during a budget hearing Monday in Albany.

State Sen. James Sanders (D-Jamaica) mentioned problems with lead paint, as well as mold and heating outages, in NYCHA developments in his district, which includes South Jamaica, Ozone Park and parts of Far Rockaway.

“I’m very concerned about what’s going on,” Sanders said. “What can you do about this problem that’s in NYCHA? We need to have some type of resolution to this problem of mold, lead and heating problems.”

NYCHA misled tenants whose ceiling collapsed due to flawed boiler

In response, Zucker stated, “Yes, the state will come in and investigate this.”

“Like you, I have been following this very closely and I’m very concerned,” Zucker noted. “As a physician, as a parent, as a New Yorker the situation there is very worrisome particularly for the health and well-being of children there.”

Zucker said the state Health Department will sit down with Sanders’ staff to determine the scope and nature of the investigation, which could include random sampling for lead poisoning in children who live in tainted apartments.

NYCHA has come under fire in the last few weeks for failing to perform required lead paint inspections and relying on untrained workers to inspect and remediate apartments for the toxic substance.

Embattled NYCHA chairwoman testifies on heating systems failure

Some elected officials and tenant leaders have called for the resignation of NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye who certified NYCHA was in compliance on lead paint inspections when she knew it wasn’t.

The authority is currently working on an agreement with the U.S. Attorney for Manhattan following a yearlong probe of whether management has filed false documents with the federal government.

The agency has also been highly criticized for widespread heating outages that have affected 320,000 tenants since October.

And a federal judge has appointed a monitor to oversee NYCHA’s effort to remediate toxic mold from apartments where tenants suffer from asthma and other respiratory ailments.

Commit the funds to fix NYCHA

In response a spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio, Olivia Lapeyrolerie, said, “This Mayor has made an unprecedented commitment to NYCHA, including .1 billion in capital infrastructure and .6 billion in operating funds. We’re coming to the table with real resources to address the problems residents face, and urge our federal and state partners to do the same.”

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Health Department to study impact of NYCHA lead paint failures

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