City Council Votes to Strengthen Lead Testing and Reporting Requirements

The Council will vote on a package of bills expanding the scope of the city’s lead contamination testing and reporting  

City Hall – The New York City Council on Wednesday
will vote on a package of bills that will ensure the city is using the most
up-to-date federally recommended standards when testing for lead contamination.
The Council will also expand lead paint testing requirements for multiple types
of sites at which children are at especially high risk for lead exposure. The
new laws will require investigation and remediation
by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and by individual
landlords for lead hazards in spaces where children routinely spend ten or more
hours a week. 

The Council will also vote to expand the reporting and
auditing requirements relating to the enforcement of the city’s existing lead
laws. The new laws will require DOHMH to put in place a linguistically and
culturally competent outreach and education campaign to increase awareness of
childhood lead poisoning prevention. Additionally, the laws will require that
local community boards, relevant civic organizations, local school
superintendents, and the Council be notified if soil contaminants are found in
a city development project. 

Reducing the City’s Lead Reference levels   

Introduction 865, sponsored by Council Speaker
Corey Johnson
would reduce the city’s blood lead reference level to 5
mcg/dL, reduce the city’s lead paint definition from 1 milligram per square
centimeter (mg/cm2) of lead or greater to 0.5 mg/cm2 for
x-ray fluorescence analyzer (XRF) testing and from 0.5 percent metallic lead
content to 0.25 percent for lab paint chip sample analysis, and reduce the lead
dust definition from 40 micrograms per square foot (mcg/f2) to
10mcg/f2
for floors, from 250mcg/f2 to 50mcg/f2 for
windowsills, and from 400 mcg/f2 to 100mcg/f2 for
window wells. As of June 1, 2021, the lead dust definition would be lowered to 5
mcg/f2
for floors, 40 mcg/f2 for window sills, and remain 100 mcg/f2 for
window wells.  

“This Council is committed to protecting the most
vulnerable among us, our children. Lead poisoning isn’t just a public health
issue – it is a racial and economic justice issue because low-income
communities and children of color are the most at risk to lead exposure. This
package of bills is a big step forward in our fight to ensure existing lead
laws protect our children from lead poisoning. I thank all my colleagues for
their work to pass these bills today and for their commitment to this Council’s
ongoing efforts to create the strongest and most protective anti-lead poisoning
regulatory framework in the country here in New York City,”
said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.  

Extending Requirements for Lead-Based Paint Testing Day Care Facilities   

Introduction 920, sponsored by Council Member Mark Treyger, would extend current requirements for day care facilities operating in structures erected before January 1, 1978, to other facilities serving children under 6, including preschools, nursery schools, and, where applicable, elementary schools.

“The most common cause of lead poisoning is exposure to lead paint, and young children are most often at risk. My legislation will take common sense regulations about testing and remediation for hazardous lead paint at day care facilities and apply them to other facilities that serve children under the age of six, including schools, pre-schools, and nursery schools. This bill is a measure to help us meet our responsibility to protect the health of every child in our city. I’m proud that this legislation is part of the Council’s comprehensive approach toward fighting back against lead poisoning, and I thank Speaker Corey Johnson for his leadership on this issue,” said Council Member Mark Treyger.

Requiring First-Draw Samples When Testing for Lead in Water

Introduction 871, sponsored by Council Member Joseph Borelli, would require that any testing of water from a fixture or other source for lead that is required by law includes a first-draw sample from such source. If a water lead action level is established by federal, state, or local law or rule that requires new sampling requirements, this legislation would allow the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to adopt new sampling requirements by rule.

“We’ve been calling on the Department of Education for years to tighten their lead testing policy for school drinking water. It’s been frustrating to watch so many repeat test failures and I really credit and thank Speaker Corey Johnson for recognizing how absolutely critical this issue is and pushing this bill forward. Now the Department of Education will be forced to utilize best practices for regular lead testing and our children will be safer for it,” said Council Member Joe Borelli.

Expanding Reporting Requirements on Lead Poisoning
Prevention and Control
  

Introduction 918, sponsored by Council Member
Ritchie Torres,
would expand reporting requirements under the city’s
existing lead laws for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and
the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). The legislation
would also strengthen the city’s auditing of landlords to ensure their
compliance with the requirements under the city’s lead laws.  

“This legislation will enhance and expand reporting
requirements on lead, to ensure transparency on behalf of city agencies that
implement the city’s lead laws. By ensuring more accountability and clarity,
this bill will provide information on the effectiveness of our lead laws and
landlord compliance. I look forward to its passage and enactment into law,”
said Council Member Ritchie Torres. 

Requiring Investigation by DOHMH of Places Where
Children Identified with Elevated Blood Lead Levels Routinely Visit
  

Introduction 464, sponsored by Council Member
Daniel
Dromm, would require the Department of Health and Mental
Hygiene (DOHMH) to investigate potential sources of elevated blood lead levels
in children, including the inspection of any dwelling where a child with an
elevated blood lead level spends 10 or more hours per week. This bill would
also add to existing lead hazard remediation requirements for facilities
providing day care services, requiring them to post notices describing any
order to remediate a lead hazard, and to remediate such hazard within 21 days.
Finally, building owners would be required to investigate and remediate lead
hazards where a child routinely spends 10 or more hours per week within a
dwelling unit. This legislation would protect children by expanding the number
of apartments that landlords are required to inspect and remediate under the
city’s lead law and is not intended to supersede any existing duty of care that
landlords owe their tenants or their families.  

“Intro. 464-B helps NYC put a stop to one of the city’s most insidious public health crises: the continued lead-poisoning of our children,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “My legislation will protect thousands of young people by expanding the definition of the term ‘resides’ to cover cases where children become exposed to lead while spending extended time with temporary caretakers. This bill fills a gap in the current code and, as a result, protects New York’s children from the myriad health risks associated with lead poisoning, including irreversibly impairing neurological development, causing behavioral disorders, and reducing educational attainment.  I am grateful to Speaker Johnson and Chair Cornegy for their support of this important effort.” 

Requiring Education and Outreach Regarding Childhood
Lead Poisoning Prevention
  

Introduction 881, sponsored by Council Member Daniel Dromm, would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to establish and implement an education and outreach program to increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention. The bill would also require the program to include linguistically and culturally competent education and outreach tailored to limited English proficient individuals and specific immigrant populations. To achieve this end, measures identified in the bill include language assistance tools, production of education materials, community outreach, and advertisements in multiple public locations.  

“The city needs to ensure that our families are aware of the negative impact lead can have on a child’s health,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “Intro. 881-A will ensure that New Yorkers are educated on lead hazards by launching a public education and outreach program.  The program will be tailored to meet the needs of NYC’s diverse communities, including adults who have limited English proficiency. Because of this bill, fewer low income and immigrant families will suffer the pain and hardship that results in having a child exposed to lead. I thank Speaker Johnson and Chair Levine for their continuous support of this legislation.” 

Requiring City Agencies Provide Information Related to Lead Hazards to Parents    

Introduction 1117, sponsored by Council Member Laurie Cumbo, would require certain city agencies to provide materials describing building owners’ responsibilities under the city’s lead laws, including their duty to remediate all lead-based paint hazards upon turnover of any dwelling unit, to parents or guardians of a child under 7 years of age, when such parents or guardians seek services from such agencies. These agencies would also be required to inform parents or guardians when they seek services, that they can obtain, without cost or payment, an inspection of their dwelling unit for peeling paint, a deteriorated subsurface, or an underlying defect by calling 311, and a lead testing kit for drinking water from the Department of Environmental Protection.

Requiring Notice Be Given When Contaminants are Found in
the Soil 
 

Introduction 1063, sponsored by Council Member Robert Holden, would require notice to the community board and to the Council Member within five business days of discovering or becoming aware of a hazardous level of lead in soil as a result of an environmental subsurface investigation in any city development project. 

“All of these bills are common sense measures to improve transparency, safety, awareness and testing for potential lead contamination, an issue that has endangered our citizens for far too long,” said Council Member Robert Holden. “I am proud to sign in support of my fellow Council members’ legislation, and I thank them for supporting mine, as we strive to make this city safer together.”  

Requiring the Department of Environmental Protection
Make Available to the Public a Map with All Known Lead Water Service Lines
  

Introduction 709, sponsored by Council Member
Jimmy Van Bramer,
wouldrequire the Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) to provide, on the city’s website, an interactive map with
information regarding the known lead water service lines and to make best
efforts to identify all lead water service lines, including privately owned
service lines. It also requires the department to provide information to users
about lead contamination prevention, lead water test kits and how to replace
lead service lines. The department must replace any known lead water service
lines that are owned by the department no later than December 31, 2025.
Thereafter the department must provide to the council and the mayor an annual
report on the locations of all known lead water service lines, efforts underway
to replace lead water supply mains and service lines and the status of public
outreach and education efforts on the prevention of lead contamination.  

“It is imperative that New Yorkers know when there are
toxic levels of lead in our drinking water and how to prevent contamination,” said
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.
“This critical legislation would require
unprecedented depth and transparency in reporting lead poisoning by creating an
interactive and searchable online map identifying all known lead water service
lines in New York City. Making this data available and engaging in public
outreach and education around this issue will better protect children and
families from dangerous lead poisoning.” 

Requiring Agencies Inform Parents of Lead Testing
Services
  

Introduction 877, sponsored by Council Member
Robert
Cornegy, would require certain city agencies to provide a
pamphlet or other materials regarding lead hazards, including information on
how to obtain a blood lead screening, to the parents or guardians of a child
under 7 years of age, when such parents or guardians seek a service from such
agencies. 

“Keeping our children safe from the dangers of lead is
paramount to providing them with the best opportunity to succeed in life,” said
Council Member Robert E.
Cornegy, Jr. “Updating the city’s lead standards, and
providing additional and more thorough safeguards to ensure the children of
this city are safe from lead poisoning is, therefore, a no-brainer. I look
forward to the passage of this entire package of legislation, which I am
confident will help eradicate lead poisoning in this city once and for all.” 

Requesting the New York State Legislature Pass S.4331
and A.6449
 

Senate Legislation Resolution 1, sponsored by
Council Member Andrew Cohen,
requests thatthe state legislature
allow the city to deploy up to 750 speed limit enforcement cameras in school safety
zones across the city. Speed cameras have been shown to significantly slow
vehicular speeds and save lives. It would also improve the city’s ability to
collect fines for the speed zone violations. 

The Council will also vote on the following four Article
XI property tax exemptions at the following locations: 

67-69 St. Nicholas Avenue in Council Member Bill
Perkins’ district that will facilitate the  

preservation of a 26-unit HDFC building as affordable
housing. 

East
Village Homes
in Council Member Carlina Rivera’s district to facilitate the construction of 53
units of affordable housing on vacant city-owned property. 

32-34
Putnam Cluster
in Majority Leader Cumbo and Council Member Robert Cornegy’s districts to
facilitate the preservation of 56 cooperative and rental units. 

Finally, the Council will vote on the following land use
items: 

Douglaston Parkway Rezoning 

The rezoning will facilitate two developments: an
eight-story building and a five-story building, resulting in approximately 83
dwelling units, of which approximately 34 are required to be permanently
affordable, and which will be “affordable independent residences for seniors.”
The project is located in Council Member Paul Vallone’s district. 

570 Fulton Street  

An application in Majority Leader Cumbo’s district, to
facilitate the development of a 40-story tower with 100,000 square feet of
office space and 100,000 square feet of residential space. The Council is
modifying the application to restrict the Special Permit from being able to be
used for a hotel development. 

Williamsbridge Rezoning  

An application submitted by 2712 Radcliff Yates Realty LLC
in Council Member Mark Gjonaj’s district, to facilitate the development of a 7-story
30-unit building with 4,825 square feet of commercial space.  

Betances V1 

An application submitted by NYCHA, to facilitate the
development of a 15-story mixed use building with 100 affordable housing units
in Council Member Diana Ayala’s district.  The Council is modifying the
application to remove MIH Option 2. 

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