New York City begins lead testing program targeting 135,000 NYCHA apartments

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off NYCHA's new lead-based paint testing program Monday, and for the first time ever, 135,000 apartments will be tested with a portable X-ray fluorescence analyzers.

City officials say the effort will determine the presence of lead paint and abate any hazards found in these units, going beyond local and federal requirements.

The 135,000 units were built before 1978, when lead paint was banned at the federal level. Testing will be completed by the end of 2020.

"New York City has driven down the number of kids exposed to lead by 90 percent, and now we will finish the mission," de Blasio said. "For the first time ever, we're going into 135,000 NYCHA apartments to eradicate lead exposure. This aggressive new testing plan will help make New York the healthiest and fairest big city in America."

NYCHA will prioritize developments with the highest population of children under the age of 6, which is the age recognized in the city's law requiring landlords to conduct regular lead-based paint visual assessments.

Testing begins at Harlem River Houses on April 15, and the other seven developments will start on May 1.The first tranche of development to be tested are:
--Williamsburg Houses
--Harlem River Houses
--Bronx River Houses
--Saint Nicholas Houses
--Johnson Houses
--Red Hook West Houses
--Castle Hill Houses
--Marble Hill Houses

The remaining developments will be announced in the coming months. In addition to ensuring individual residents are receiving clear and rapid communication about results for their own apartments once inspected, NYCHA will report its testing results online by May 1 and will update the information every two weeks.

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