"City officials (in New York City] revealed Thursday there were 1,375 positive lead poisoning tests in children since 2012 in NYCHA (public housing) - the first complete figures in the widening scandal." - The New York Post, August 30, 2018. Here is the article.
Lead paint, banned for residential use in the late 1970s, still exists in older housing stock.
Since the ban, federal, state, and local public policy initiatives were supposed to protect children in those complexes from that medical hazard. Since young children mouth everything, if the lead paint is present under the layers of other kinds of paint, there is extreme danger. Lead in the blood of children is correlated with everything from cognitive impairment to behavioral problems.
However, that outreach hasn't panned out in public housing in NYC.
In other states, ranging from Rhode Island to California, the state attorneys general, frequently working on contingency with plaintiff law firm Motley Rice, sued former lead paint manufacturers and marketers for allegedly causing a public nuisance. So far, that has only stuck in CA. Among the defendants has been Sherwin-Williams, with Jones Day playing defense.
Given this current tragedy in NYC public housing, NY state attorney general Barbara Underwood and Motley Rice can ride in as white knights, leveraging legal tools to address this problem.
My two sisters and I came of age in a cold-water walk-up tenement in Jersey City, New Jersey - a 30-minute ride on the Tubes (subway under the Hudson River) from NYC. Like the rest of the kids in the neighborhood, we were always sick. One sister died relatively young, as did many of my childhood playmates.
But we were never tested for lead paint. I wonder if our generation should be. The presence of high levels of lead in our blood could explain much.
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