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NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer demands city improve fight against lead poisoning

2019-09-29

Comptroller Scott Stringer demanded the city dramatically improve its fight against lead poisoning after an investigation revealed an ineffective and disjointed effort that puts even more kids in danger.

Blasting the city’s “clear failure," Stringer called on Mayor de Blasio to shake up the effort to inspect buildings in neighborhoods where records show persistent problems with harmful lead poisoning.

“Every child that is exposed to lead is a tragedy,” Stringer said. “It is so important that we do everything in our power to address lead in our buildings in a way that is coordinated, pro-active and effective.”

Stringer called for immediate inspections of the 503 buildings where more than three children have been diagnosed with high levels of lead. He also wants the city to come up with a schedule for checking on nearly 10,000 buildings where improper levels of lead have been found and to step up its effort to push landlords to fix high levels of lead.

He demanded action and responses to his questions from City Hall by Friday.

The de Blasio administration has said that it is moving ahead with lead inspections in a timely manner.

Stringer’s investigation revealed that city bureaucrats don’t share health information about children affected with lead poisoning with agencies charged with inspecting buildings for illegal high levels of lead, which can cause brain damage.

Instead, they rely on what he called a “reactive, complaint-driven protocol” for lead inspections which failed to take advantage of the crucial information gathered by a sister agency.