Too many children in New York are still poisoned by lead, a dangerous neurotoxin. This legislation utilizes numerous tools to reduce lead exposure, including the enshrinement of new lead-safe standards for rental properties, as well as requiring annual blood lead screenings for children up until 6 years of age (New York currently only requires screening at age 1 and 2).
New York State recently revised its definition of ‘elevated blood lead level’ to 5 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dl), aligning with the level of concern set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This bill builds on that accomplishment in multiple ways. First, landlords will be obligated to eliminate lead-based paint and potentially other sources of exposure in their rental properties, ensuring that the necessary steps are taken to protect the health of tenants.
Second, by requiring annual blood lead screenings for children up until 6 years of age, this legislation provides critical protections for families, especially those who move to a lead-unsafe rental property with a child over the age of 2. Extended monitoring ensures that if the child is exposed to elevated levels of lead, an inspection of the family’s home is triggered and the source of lead is eliminated.
No amount of lead is considered safe in the human body or brain. The growing bodies and developing organs of children are especially vulnerable to lead exposure. Even low levels of lead in children can cause neurological damage, impaired hearing, slowed growth, and anemia.
According to the New York State Children’s Environmental Health Centers, more than 2,200 children in New York are affected by lead poisoning each year. This bill is crucial to combat the negative effects of lead poisoning.
This bill amends Section 1370-a and 1373 of the Public Health Law; adds Section 1370-f of the Public Health Law; amends Section 3216, 3221 and 4303 of the Insurance Law; amends Section 365-a of the Social Services Law; amends Section 14 of the Public Housing Law; and amends Section 383 of the Executive Law to expand testing for lead in drinking water to certain day care facilities.