NYCHA Will X-Ray For Lead Paint At 135,000 Apartments From Harlem To Hollis

The embattled New York City Housing Authority has launched a new effort to identify apartments contaminated with lead paint using X-ray devices that can detect the metal through multiple layers of paint.

The tests, which will cost a whopping $88 million, kicked off at the Harlem River Houses on Monday and will eventually roll out to 135,000 public housing apartments by 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday reports NY Curbed.

“For the first time ever we’re going to be able to say with absolute certainty whether an apartment has lead paint in it or not,” Mayor de Blasio said at the Williamsburg Houses. “Now, we’re going to know once and for all, and that’s going to change everything.”

After the initial wave of tests in Harlem, a contractor will begin probes at seven other developments on May 1. These include at the Williamsburg Houses, Bronx River Houses, Saint Nicholas Houses, Johnson Houses, Red Hook West Houses, Castle Hill Houses, and the Marble Hill Houses.

After the initial wave of tests in Harlem, a contractor will begin probes at seven other developments on May 1. These include at the Williamsburg Houses, Bronx River Houses, Saint Nicholas Houses, Johnson Houses, Red Hook West Houses, Castle Hill Houses, and the Marble Hill Houses.

NYCHA Interim Chair Kathryn Garcia noted that the tech will enable the city to catalog the number of lead-free apartments at a rate of up to 7,000 apartments a month, with inspection results posted to NYCHA’s website monthly. Residents will also be sent a copy of their personal results.

“Today, we begin the aggressive work to make sure that we are charting a new course to eliminate lead from our residents’ homes,” Garcia said Monday. “This is the first step toward a lead-free NYCHA and part of our mission to provide residents with safe homes.”

The city’s remaining 175,000 public housing units have either already been inspected or were built after 1978—when the federal government banned lead paint.

De Blasio first announced the initiative last July. The move came after his administration was embroiled in a lead paint scandal that culminated with federal prosecutors bringing a lawsuit against the city, arguing that for years NYCHA officials lied about performing required inspections and hid the illicit conditions from federal inspectors.

In January, the city settled the lawsuit after de Blasio agreed to a deal that put the agency under the thumb of a federal monitor, whose position is to provide strict oversight of the beleaguered agency.

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