A state senator from Brooklyn is offering free lead testing for children following revelations that the New York City Housing Authority failed to conduct thousands of inspections and then filed false paperwork with the federal government claiming compliance.
“Like every New Yorker, every NYCHA resident deserves safe housing,” Sen. Jesse Hamilton said on Wednesday. “Every child growing up in NYCHA housing deserves to be free from hazardous lead that can negatively impact their growth and development.”
Lead poisoning can affect the development of the brain and nervous system, and it’s possible that a child won’t show any symptoms, according to Hamilton. The only way to find out if they are sick is through a blood test.
For the rest of December and all of January, parents can take their children to Kāamin Health - Crown Heights Urgent Care, located at 555 Lefferts Ave., for a free test. The office is open between 4-11 p.m. on Saturdays, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. on Sundays and from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekdays.
Hamilton suggested that every child under 6 should be tested for lead poisoning, especially if they live in a house or apartment that was built before 1978.
Lead testing has been on the minds of many parents since a city Department of Investigation report released in November detailed how NYCHA had not conducted the federally mandated inspections for about 55,000 apartments beginning in 2013, but continued to file documentation to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development claiming the inspections were done.
At a special City Council hearing on Tuesday, NYCHA chairwoman Shola Olatoye struggled to explain why the authority filed the false paperwork in October 2016 even after she was made aware of the lack of inspections in April of that year, saying she had no “intention to mislead or lie” to the federal government.
Following the DOI report, NYCHA announced sweeping changes and two senior managers resigned, but some council members as well as Public Advocate Letitia James have said Olatoye should resign.