This article is part of our larger investigation to highlight lead exposure issues across the nation.
It’s no secret that African Americans are at greater risk of various types of health threats than the typically more wealthy white American counterpart, and it’s been shown time and time again.
Inner city schools, that historically have larger African American populations than suburban ones are continuously shown to have problems such as significant exposure to lead paint and the many consequences that stem from it. Structural issues and the way that FEMA handled Hurricane Katrina has additionally been shown to be more likely to affect the African American community in New Orleans.
The fact of the matter is that before we address these underlying racial tendencies in society, the sooner we can avoid the unnecessary lead exposure to people, and especially kids who are more at risk.
Melrose Housing isn’t alone
Melrose housing in the Bronx isn’t alone at being a hub for the potential lead exposure to low-income families, but it is a very well-reported case, why we have chosen to highlight it.
The sad thing about the matter is that the NYC authorities are very aware of the vast amount of problems in the area, yet the problems continue to persist.
Here are a bunch of relevant articles to show what has been done to address the known issue in the Bronx, along with the relevant news articles:
- November 20, 2017 – NY Daily News publishes an article about Sixto Martinez, a man who lives in Melrose Houses with his family, and it is exposed that damaged paint can easily be found, although NYCHA workers are supposed to conduct inspections in order to prevent this. The harmful paint dust is accumulating in the place that he has called his home for more than a decade.
- February 27, 2018 – The New York Times publishes an article on a lawsuit representing 400,000 living in public housing accusing NYCHA of being negligent, not providing them with hot water and heat, filing false reports and not protecting them again deteriorating lead paint.
- April 6, 2018 – Patch publishes an article about NYCHA workers supposed to check for lead in apartment where they thought there previously was none present. This includes working on two apartment complexes previously not thought to be contaminated with the paint.
- January 28, 2019 – Fox5 publishes an article on the new program called LeadFreeNYC that will review every single apartment in public housing, as well as adress the ones affected to make it right.
- July 31, 2019 – Chalkbeat publishes an article that highlights that more than 900 NYC elementary school classrooms have been inspected and contain damaged lead paint, at which point the exposure start becoming damaging to kids. Nearly 38% of school building built before 1985 were found to contain deteriorating lead paint.
- August 2, 2019 – Welcome2TheBronx publishes and article talking about the same findings as were published by Chalkbeat, highlighting that 90 school buildings tested positive.
- Feb 1, 2020 – Spectrum News publishes an article about the continued issues with public housing and their deteriorating paint. The article additionally mentions how roughly 1,000 children in public housing were affected in the 4 year span between 2012 and 2016. It is also specified how this is especially a problem in the Bronx where a lot of the building are older.
- February 11, 2020 – The Real Deal publishes an article on additional laws enacted that will affect landlords that don’t have their papers in order. The various bills affect landlords, apartments built pre-1960 where a child resides, but the article points out that there are still a bunch of flaws and it is unsure as to how information will be distributed. One of the bills encourages contractors to keep their documentation in order in order to stay in compliance with already existing legislation.
Here at Check4Lead, we’re skeptical as to the way that NYC is dealing with their apparent problem, as it is not that existing legislation has been missing but rather that enforcement isn’t being done as well as it should be.
The EPA had already instated the necessary legislation in 2008, and later amended in 2010 and 2011, and yet we’re continuing to see problems related to implementation more than 10 years after things should start getting in order. Our suggestion is additionally to encourage the enforcement of sanctions and penalties for non-compliant contractors.