Families worried about lead at NYCHA buildings

BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Jonquella Wheeler is stressed and worried about her son, Kaemel.

They live at NYCHA's Van Dyke houses in Brownsville, where, when Kaemel was two, doctors found alarmingly high levels of lead in his system.

Wheeler says inspectors determined paint on the pipes in her apartment was the primary source of the problem. Her unit was last checked in 2012. Kaemel is now 10 and still feels the effects.

"His motor skills, normal children developmental skills, his reading and comprehension," she says.

The mother of two is speaking out and is encouraging other families in public housing to do the same on the heels of a recent troubling report by a federal monitor.

Last week, officials revealed new testing identified nine thousand apartments contained lead paint which may put kids younger than six at risk. That is three times the amount of units NYCHA ID'd in 2018.

"As soon as the city gets hold of it it's a spark, and a couple months from now, it just dies back down," Wheeler said.

As for NYCHA, it maintains it is aggressively working to this problem, something the federal monitor acknowledges. To date, it has inspected about 47,000 apartments. 54 percent tested positive for lead paint.

ALSO READ | Federal monitor says NYCHA not doing enough to remove mold and lead
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A new report says NYCHA is not doing enough about mold and lead problems.


"We keep hearing the same thing - 'we will do better,' no, you are incapable of doing better, and that's why we need to monitor you on real time," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

This as Wheeler and others keep a close eye on their kids.

ALSO READ | Red Hook Houses residents demand NYCHA slow down construction project

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