For nearly a decade, the New York City Housing Authority consistently contested Health Department orders to remove lead paint from residential apartment walls, The New York Times reports. Between 2010 and July 2018, the Times reported, NYCHA challenged 95 percent of the Health Department lead removal orders it received. In contrast, private landlords contested only 4 percent of those orders.
The strategy often worked: In 158 of the 211 cases, the Heath Department backed down after NYCHA disputed its order. Thousands of pages of documents reviewed by the Times reveal that NYCHA also erroneously assumed that lead poisoning no longer posed a risk in the apartments it managed and did not ensure that routine mandated inspections effectively tested for the presence of the metal.
By the time the agency started paying attention in recent years, the damage had been done: When contractors visited more than 8,000 apartments at the end of 2017, they found that about 80 percent contained possible lead paint hazards. In 2015, 171 children living in public housing had “elevated” levels of lead in their blood—which can lead to irreversible brain damage. READ more at the NEW YORK TIMES.