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Congresswoman Grace Meng

Representing the 6th District of New York

Meng Urges Mayor de Blasio to Begin Lead Paint Testing at NYCHA Complexes in Queens

Jul 26, 2019
Press Release
Congresswoman sends letter calling for testing program to be expedited; says it’s unacceptable that no NYCHA apartments in the borough have been inspected yet for lead
QUEENS, NY – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) today urged Mayor de Blasio to expedite the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) lead paint testing initiative so that testing can finally begin at complexes in Queens.
 
“While the city rightly prioritized testing in complexes with the highest number of children under 6, the reported backlog on testing and failure to begin testing in Queens is unacceptable,” Meng wrote in a letter to the Mayor. “As of July 23, not a single NYCHA complex in Queens has been tested. Located in my district, the Pomonok Houses, in particular, have the highest number of children under 6 in Queens – fourth highest across all NYCHA complexes; but these have yet to be tested. In these houses, each of the more than 300 children under 6 are threatened by the dangers of lead poisoning. I urge you to expedite the testing process throughout the city and begin testing in Queens as soon as possible.”
 
Meng’s district includes three NYCHA developments: Pomonok, Latimer Gardens, and the Bland Houses, all of which are located in Flushing.
 
“Inspecting approximately 135,000 apartments throughout the city is a vast undertaking,” said Meng. “But that challenge cannot get in the way of testing housing units in Queens. Health and safety must always be the top priority for all who reside in NYCHA complexes, particularly children, who should never be forced to endure exposure to lead. I await answers from the Mayor.”
 
The text of Meng’s letter to de Blasio is below and a copy of the correspondence can be viewed here.
 
Updates on the progress of lead testing at NYCHA complexes are available here.
 
-----------------------------------------
 
The Honorable Bill de Blasio
Mayor, City of New York
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
 
Dear Mayor de Blasio:
 
I write today to request an update on your lead-testing initiative for New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) housing and to urge you to expedite the testing process. I represent Pomonok, Latimer, and Bland Houses. It must be a priority of the city to ensure that no one, especially children, are exposed to the dangers of lead poisoning in New York’s public housing.
 
As you know, exposure to lead is a serious health hazard with particularly pernicious effects on children under 6. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there is no safe amount of lead exposure in children.[1] Some effects of lead exposure to children include irreversible neurological and behavioral damages such as reduced IQ and shorter attention spans.[2] It is entirely unacceptable that anyone – let alone vulnerable children – should live in such threatening conditions a day longer.
 
While the city rightly prioritized testing in complexes with the highest number of children under 6, the reported backlog on testing and failure to begin testing in Queens is unacceptable. As of July 23, not a single NYCHA complex in Queens has been tested.[3] Located in my district, the Pomonok Houses, in particular, have the highest number of children under 6 in Queens – fourth highest across all NYCHA complexes; but these have yet to be tested.[4] In these houses, each of the more than 300 children under 6 are threatened by the dangers of lead poisoning.
 
As you continue your lead-testing initiative, I ask that you provide my office with an update on the status of testing. Additionally, I urge you to expedite the testing process throughout the city and begin testing in Queens as soon as possible. No child should live in lead exposure under our watch and the lead-testing initiative must be a top priority.
 
I look forward to your prompt attention to this matter.
 
Sincerely,
 
Grace Meng
Member of Congress