NYC Council Passes Bills To Protect Children Citywide From Lead Poisoning

August 3, 2023

WE ACT for Environmental Justice applauds the New York City Council for today passing three bills they have been advocating for to help reduce the threat of childhood lead poisoning. 

All three bills supplement Local Law 1 of 2004, which requires building owners to test for and abate lead-based paint on friction surfaces – such as door and window frames, two major sources of lead paint dust – whenever an apartment with children under age 6 is vacated.

However, random audits by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) indicate widespread non-compliance. 

This non-compliance was the impetus of this new legislation:

This bill will require inspections and abatement, including the removal of lead-based paint on friction surfaces, to be completed in all applicable dwelling units where a child under the age of 6 resides by July 1, 2027. If an owner fails to comply, they are subject to a Class C violation.

  • Intro 0005-2022 – Automatic Audits of Landlord Self-Inspections Upon Issuance of Peeling Lead Paint Violations

This bill will trigger an automatic audit of landlords’ self-inspection records anytime HPD finds peeling lead paint.

  • Intro 0750-2022 – Proactive Identification and Inspection of Dwellings Where Children Are at Risk of Lead Poisoning

Despite the City having extensive data on the buildings where children are most likely to be poisoned by lead, an audit by the New York City Comptroller found that inspections only occur as the result of tenant complaints, and many tenants are reluctant to do so fearing potential retaliation.

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This bill will mandate HPD and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to develop a program for proactive inspections of high-risk buildings even if there are no tenant complaints.

Due to loopholes and a lack of enforcement of Local Law 1 of 2004, 2,557 children in New York City still tested positive for elevated blood lead levels as recently as 2021. Lead poisoning produces life-long impacts, which include permanent neurological disorders, kidney and hearing damage, and concentration problems as well as lower IQs.

And studies show that Black children living below the poverty line are twice as likely to suffer from lead poisoning as poor white children.

“We thank Council Member Diana Ayala and the other sponsors of these bills for their leadership, and we urge Mayor Eric Adams to sign all three into law. Childhood lead poisoning is completely preventable, and this legislation will help protect our children,” explained Lonnie Portis, New York City Policy and Advocacy Manager at WE ACT for Environmental Justice.

WE ACT for Environmental Justice

WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Visit us at

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