Hamilton Calls For Special Legislative Session To Deal With NYCHA Lead Poisoning


State Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) today demands the state legislature reconvene for a special session to enact legislation for lead screening and lead poisoning prevention.

“We know more than 800 children tested for lead poisoning, but did not get any treatment from NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) and the local government,” said Hamilton, standing in front of NYCHA’s Langston Hughes Houses, 301 Sutter Avenue in Brownsville.

“No one is doing anything about this. This is a crisis more than Flint Michigan, and our local government is doing nothing about it,” he added.

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton, with Democratic District Leader Anthony Jones, behind him, called for s state special legislative session to deal with lead poisoning. Photo by Christian Spencer.

Hamilton will focus on three bills to help address the NYCHA lead crisis. Senate Bill 6971A would include lead screening in pre-school and kindergarten students in school entry protocols, treating lead screening similar to immunization.

Senate Bill 7796 would strengthen follow-up state health protocols when a health care provider finds elevated lead levels in a child’s blood, directing an environmental investigation by the Department of Health.

Senate Bill 7633 would require NYCHA to issue an annual report on lead paint inspections and fund the training of NYCHA residents to inspect for lead and repaint apartments.

In February, Hamilton and colleagues issued “The New Flint” report on NYCHA, comparing the NYCHA lead crisis to that faced by residents of Flint, Michigan. The report presented results of a survey of NYCHA residents that found:

  • 79% of residents said NYCHA did nothing when lead paint was discovered in their apartments
  • 80% had children whose children’s blood-lead levels have not been tested
  • 54% called NYCHA for repairs, but are still waiting in excess of a month for repairs
  • 63% indicate their apartment has peeling or chipped paint
  • Over 82% said NYCHA did nothing to educate them about lead paint

With the help of Yosef Hershkop of Kāmin Health in Crown Heights, Hamilton said he has helped treat more children for less money than the entire city of New York.

Hamilton was also joined by 55th Assembly District Democratic Leader Anthony Jones, NYCHA Tenant Association Presidents and Rev. Kevin McCall from the National Action Network.

“We have to protest. We have to speak out, to motivate the people and to fight for themselves,” said Jones. “For far too long, politicians have allowed this to go on.”