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Federal monitor triples estimates of NYCHA apartments with lead risk to children

Posted at 8:00 PM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 20:00:10-04

NEW YORK — A bombshell statement from Federal Monitor Bart Schwartz overseeing NYCHA: Thousands more apartments with young children are believed to have dangerous lead paint than previously believed.

About 3,000 were already known; the real number is likely triple that.

Schwatrz said there is a "significantly larger number of apartments where children under 6 reside who might be exposed to lead risks." That new number is up to 9,000 apartments.

READ MORE: NYCHA lead problem about three times as bad as was previously thought, federal monitor says

Alicka Ampry-Samuel, the chair of the City Council’s committee on public housing, is angry.

She said NYCHA may be covering up the situation, and thinks there maybe even criminal wrong doing.

“Everyone in a leadership position should be held responsible and accountable. They should be fired, step down, resign or face criminal charges,” said Samuel.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked about the shocking new findings Thursday.

“We have the clearest plan the city has ever had to eliminate lead paint poisoning. It can be done. It must be done. And we are seeing fewer cases and a steady decrease,” said de Blasio.

PIX11 News asked the mayor back in April 2018 about lead abatement in NYCHA.

“Enough is being done. Every apartment that we know of has been inspected and remediated,” de Blasio assured.

But a knowledgeable source tells PIX11 News out of 134,000 apartments that were suspected of having lead, NYCHA so far has gained entry only into a third of them and 55% of those apartments had a presence of lead.

READ MORE: NYCHA lead problem about three times as bad as was previously thought, federal monitor says

Back in April 2018, PIX11 News spoke to Sherron Paige, who lives in the Red Hook Houses.

Paige’s 4-year-old son Kyon had high blood lead levels, she said, and is suing the city.

We spoke with Paige about the new numbers.

“Everybody knew there were more kids. This is nothing new. I want an apology. I want them to admit they were wrong,” said Paige.

NYCHA released this statement Thursday:

“NYCHA is aggressively working to identify apartments where there are children under 6 years old, and our monumental efforts to overhaul our lead program have resulted in the nation’s most comprehensive assessment of public housing apartments presumed to have lead-based paint.”

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development supports NYCHA in this.

“I know the first instinct is to criticize NYCHA, but this information, which reflects a more accurate count of units that may contain lead where children under 6 reside, is the result of the combined efforts of both the Federal Monitor and NYCHA. It also further confirms the success of Secretary Carson’s historic settlement agreement and the city’s selection of NYCHA Chair Greg Russ,” said Lynne Patton, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey.”

READ MORE: NYCHA lead problem about three times as bad as was previously thought, federal monitor says